Monday, August 10, 2015


 Have you received any hand dyed cloth from me?  If so, please read this post. First off I want to make sure that you take any hand dyed cloth and give it a proper 'very hot' water soak for 12 hours!! Yes, you read that correctly. Put some blue Dawn dish soap in a container big enough to be able to fully submerge your fabric under the water. Then add very hot water. You may want to put a winter glove on under your rubber gloves, that's how hot you should start it out at. It's going to cool over the next 12 hours of soaking, so you want to 'start' at HOT!  You can put the cloth in when it's partly filled and swish it a bit, then finish filling the container with HOT water. You need to put something on top to keep it submerged. In 12 hours, pour the water down the drain and rinse your cloth thoroughly to get all soap residue out. Then dry and press as usual. 

I am sorry for this inconvenience! Please forgive me. I thought things were fine. I processed my fabrics, making sure that my washing machine's final rinse was coming out clear and thought things were fine. I did several hot water soaks before the washing out. But my energy efficient machine will only allow a 30 minute soak, so I did those soaks in buckets. Usually 2-3 hours of changing out all that water 2 or 3 times. By the end of the third hour things weren't showing any further color in the water. So I finished them out, with color catchers in the wash cycle, and a separate one in each of the two rinses that my machine does. I thought if these were clear any dye particles that weren't attached would be gone. Well, wouldn't you think that's enough? I sure did! Until, the loss of color on a top sheet brought me into the investigative mode. 
Many thanks go to Candy Glendenning from who pointed me over to Vicki Welsh's blog, and a very thorough investigation that she did. So,after reading several pages I'm making adjustments in my upcoming methods to include at least one, and perhaps two 12 hour hot water soaks. I don't want anyone to have back staining on their projects due to my fabrics. 
I've started hot water soaking the fabrics that I dyed several years ago!! Some are fine, a few not so much. Because there's no definitive answer as to which ones will give up more color and which ones won't I've decided to take the time and effort to do this 12 hour hot water soak of everything I have in my studio. 
As for the sheets? Well, it could have been any number of things. Sheets and cases that are sold as a set probably aren't cut from the same piece of cloth, considering that the measurements would be so varying for each piece. The cotton used could have been from entirely different fields and one field's nutrients could be very different from the next. Perhaps the soda ash wasn't as strong when the second sheet was added to the bucket. And on, and on, and on! So after giving all of the sheets and cases a 12 hour soak in the blue Dawn hot water,  I've decided to move on. I do not believe any fault is with the actual dye powders. They weren't old, hadn't been exposed to excessive heat or cold, and I trust the dye house I purchased them from. 
There's just one thing that still has me wondering,,,just what chemicals, and concentrations of them, are adjusted on a daily basis in the water supply? I wonder if I should have paid more attention in chemistry class, perhaps I was supposed to be a chemist!?!? 
As I said before, I am truly sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. I assure you that the longer soaking time is going to be a part of my process from here forward. 

Your comments are always appreciated,


Monica said...

Thanks for this useful info - I'm going to soak my hand-dyed fabric in hot water overnight in future.

Luann Fischer said...

I know it seems like 'more work' now, but I don't want to think of just how much work it could be in the future!!
Thanks for stopping by,