A Workshop on Dyeing

“It’ll be fun!” my friend said, telling me about a class being taught through the Kuwait Textile Arts Association.

“Ummm. I don’t think so. I don’t like getting all messy,” I said, hating myself even as I said it for sounding so prissy.

“You know how much fabric we buy that she (the instructor) makes – we might as well learn how to do it ourselves,” she went on, encouraging me. She knows I will give in; sometimes my first response is just negative.

So there we were, in a sun-drenched location, on one of the prettiest days in Kuwait, four of us in our raggedy clothes because yes, it was going to get a little messy. The instructor made it all so easy – charts with exact measurements, equipment labled with how much to add of what . . . it was fun, and mostly, it was easy. We are all totally into color, and we got to do a little experimentation.

First, we chose one color and did gradations, six fabrics from very light to very dark. I asked if I could use two colors, blue-violet and a little black, because I wanted to end up with a very Dark Iris color, and I wanted cold icy blues to dark cold purples. The results exceeded my every expectation:

00gradebluevioletblack

I wish you could see the entire pieces – they have so much flow, motion and texture. Perfect for a cold, wintery quilt with sparks of green, blue and even turquoise in the icy purple. I could see snow capped mountains, icy streams, distant mountains, rising mists . . . these are perfect Alaskan colors.

We worked in teams, and as we worked on my partner’s colors, a spoon flipped, and the cup full of dye spun out of her hand, spiralling the spatter on me, the wall, the table, the floor – it was everywhere, a brilliant sapphire blue. I was wearing my oldest jean skirt (I could barely zip it) so honestly, it just didn’t matter. It took us forever to clean it all up. My poor friend kept saying “Sorry. Sorry. I’m so sorry,” and finally, as we were both down on our hands and knees sopping up sapphire blue I started laughing and said “Friend, I am down here on my knees just thanking God it was YOU that did it and not me!” If we hadn’t been laughing so hard, we probably could have cleaned up faster, but even the spill was a lot of fun. I had blue toes when I got home! I looked like something out of Braveheart!

mel-gibson-braveheart-photograph-c10101922

The next exercise we did had to do with color families, using two dyes, six fabrics, and varying the proportions from one end of the spectrum to the other. I chose yellow to fushia. The results totally wowed me:

00gradeyellowtofushia

And then – the grand finale – direct application dye. We had squirt bottles, and could apply the dye wherever and however we wanted. We could mix, we could scrunch, we could try anything. It was, it was like being a kid again. My result is like something out of the 1970’s – I totally love it!

00grandfinale

I seem to do a lot of quilts with seas in them, and my hands are itching to get busy on another one. These fabrics are inspiration for both sea and sand . . . love those orangey sand colors, too.

If you have a chance to take this class, grab it and run! It is SO much fun!

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4 thoughts on “A Workshop on Dyeing

  1. Loa Midford says:

    i am looking for quilting classes in Kuwait….can you help?

  2. worldquilter says:

    Loa – You need to find KTAA! You can contact Q8quilters@yahoo.com

  3. Neha says:

    Hi, I’m looking to dye some of my clothes. Would you happen to know of any place in Kuwait that offers dyeing? Your help is much appreciated.

  4. worldquilter says:

    Try Barakat, Neha, that’s where we bought our dyes. 🙂

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