Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fabric Dyer's Dictionary

I got my hands on a copy of Linda Johansen's new book called Fabric Dyer's Dictionary at Quilt Passions in Kona and decided I had to have it.

Fabric Dyer's Dictionary: 900+ Colors, Specialty Techiniques, The Only Dyeing Book You'll Ever Need!

I bought it not for the basic dyeing instructions or the techniques. I bought it because it is full of easy to use "recipes" for creating dye colors with just a few of the basic dyes. And she measures using teaspoons and not by weighing the dye.  And that's the way I like to dye.  

I dont want to have to stop and write down exactly what dyes I mixed and the proportions.  Linda has already worked that out and it's right there in front of me. And I don't want to use up lots of fabric trying to come up with my own combinations to get a blue-green that I like. All I have to do is flip though the book to that section, check out the colors and see the recipe for the one I want. 

There is nothing wrong with weighing the dye -- you have to do that to make sure you can get the same color on demand. But that's not how I dye.  I don't need to be able to create specific colors over and over so i'm fine with the teaspoon measurements. I know the pitfalls -- like not all teaspoons are created equal, and someone else can fill a tsp with way more dye powder than I can and on it goes.  But I can live with that.

Linda starts out by mixing the dye in a concentrated amount and then tells you how much of that dye concentrate to use for each color. She also does her dyeing in "baggies" and uses a standard amount of liquid depending on how much fabric is in the bag. She gives measurements for 1/4 yards and full yards but it's easy to do the math to figure out other quantities. 

I don't dye in baggies and I typically want multiple colors and lots of texture in my fabric so I didn't use her method for manipulating the fabric in the dye and I used way less water than she did. But I did follow her recipes for mixing the colors and was happy with the results. Maybe now I don't have to own one of each of the colors that the dyehouses sell. Just a few will do it for me beacuse now I know what colors and in what proportions to start mixing to come up with what I had in mind.

I found her instructions easy to follow and because she repeats the same information for each color recipe, it's easy to follow along.

I just wish they would have published this with a spiral binding so it would lay flat on the table. It would be so much easier to use it that way.


sonja said...

that sounds like a really good book for dying cloth. you might be able to take it to a kinko's or ups store as someplaces can rebind books for you.

sonja said...

or you could put a sheet of plexigalss on opened book?

Kathy said...

Thanks for the ideas Sonja. I think I will try to get it rebound with a spiral binding the next time I get into Kona.