January crafting

With the holidays over, I’ve had a touch of the winter blahs lately. So I decided to bring some color into my life, or rather, into Eleanore’s diaper stash. One of our favorite diapers, absorbency-wise are Crickett’s hemp diapers. They’re relatively cheap, very night worthy for Ellie, who’s a super-soaker and there are only two sizes– infant and toddler (Eleanore has been wearing the toddler size for a while now). Unfortunately, they’re not uber-cute, especially once they’ve been washed numerous times, and hemp tends to hold stains, which we’re not allowed to sun out due to our HOA. Boo. However, as I’ve noted before, hemp dyes beautifully with Procion Dyes. While I would love to tie dye them all, tie dyeing is a little too messy with a nine month old around, so I decided to try the low water immersion technique. It is much more contained and easier to do in steps if you need to walk away to attend to a grumpy toddler.
When Eleanore went down for her first nap yesterday, I was able to get everything prepped and started.
The first step is to dissolve your dye powder. It helps to use warm water, but it’s not absolutely necessary. I use about a tsp of procion dye to a plastic cup of warm water.
Dissolve the dyes
If you’re using one of the dyes with an * on the label, you need to add a bit more dye to get true color.
While your dyes are dissolving, prep what you want to dye. You do not need to pre-wet the fabric, but you want to stuff them into as small of a container as you can get them to fit into. Crumple them up and then stuff them in as tightly as possible.
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We no longer use plastic containers for food, so I saved these for dyeing and they work great for smaller items. Eleanore’s infant cricketts fit in them perfectly, although her toddler size are too big, so I decided to improvise with ziploc bags. If you decide to use plastic bags, make sure to keep them in the sink once you’ve added the dye, as they *may* leak. Plastic cups and small plastic coffee cans also work great. You do not want to use aluminum.
Make sure your dyes are completely dissolved, and start pouring on the color.
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You can try crazy color combinations, or just use one, but pour slowly, making sure to wet the entire fabric. Keep in mind that diapers absorb a LOT of dye, so I like to pour in some water to help disperse the dye. I also add more water to my dye cup once I’ve used about half of it if I want variations of color. Experiment and see what happens; there’s really no wrong way to do it. After you’ve added enough dye and/or water to almost completely cover the fabric, allow it to sit to start the “creeping” process. I usually try to shoot for 15-30 minutes, as I don’t like much white, and enjoy the more saturated colors.
While your dyes are “creeping” along the fabric and becoming beautiful, it’s time to dissolve the soda ash.
My dye batches are relatively small, so I use about 1/4 cup dissolved in my old pyrex cup full of warm water (which I do not use for anything but dyeing). Once your dyes have “set” for your chosen time period, slowly pour over the soda ash water into each container. I try and divide them out over each container. If this is not enough water to completely cover all of your items, pour in additional water until completely covered. Do not mix or stir. Let them sit for at least one hour.
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Once the hour is up, I slowly pour the excess dye water into the sink, and load them all into a disposable roasting pan to make it easier to transport them to my washing machine.
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With a bit of experimentation, I’ve realized that the delicate cycle uses more water than the normal one, so I run a delicate cycle with COLD water and an extra rinse, using 1/4 cup ofsynthrapol, or dharma’s version of it. I then run another delicate cycle with HOT water and an extra rinse. I can also never resist pulling out the items between washes to see the result 😉
Admire the beauty.
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I’ve been sewing and knitting as well. The longies are coming along nicely. I’m on the second leg, and I really like the subtle color fragments in the grassroots peace fleece colorway.
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Sewing news to come. I’m going to try and get to Mary Jo’s fabric store in Gastonia this coming weekend. I’ve yet to shop there and I hear it’s wonderful!

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One Response to “January crafting”

  1. becca Says:

    never thought id ever have reason to say this but cute diapors!!!

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