A few years ago, I saw a photo in Real Simple of tie dyed thermal underwear a woman had made as Christmas presents for her family members. I promptly cut that out where it lived in my inspiration binder mentally tagged under “must-do craft projects that look super fun”. Images from a tie dyeing workshop on Lena Corwin’s blog stuck in my head for a few years, and I finally made good on my promise to throw my own fabric dyeing party this past Saturday. (That’s totally going on and getting crossed off my soon to be completed Life List).
I invited all the crafty Philly ladies I know over for a day of tie-dying, fabric dyeing, spiked cider, Quiche courtesy of Julia Child’s book, soup, baked goods and racous fun. Twelve of the coolest women showed up and we had the best time.
Everyone brought a jar of dye and some type of snack, and I provided the soda ash, salt, rubber bands, gloves, water, dyeing containers, and alcohol. The stars aligned with supplies since we were cleaning out our offices at work. One particular guy at work was thrown off guard when I leaped from my chair exclaiming that I loved him when he asked if anyone wanted a box of rubber gloves and rubber bands. Excess recycling bins proved to be excellent dyeing bins, and I can share the remaining ones with my book club friends. My genius idea was to put coffee filters on the bins so that we could see what color the dye was. I kept them afterwards, and think they need to be incorporated into a future collage.
Many of us did the “scrunch method” instead of the typical swirled pattern after watching this video tutorial with Shabd Simon-Alexander on Martha Stewart. Whether it was the spiked cider or the sugary baked goods, by the time we watched this video, we were all highly impressed and extremely vocal about our admiration of Shabd’s skills.
Alexa made this sea coral-slash-George Washington wig (pre-dyed) that I wanted to try on my head, but refrained.
I was teasing my friend, Natalie by calling her Pointdexter, the mad scientist. She is a new yet very gifted spinner who tried her hand at dyeing roving. She came prepared with nine containers of wool dye, tools, green gloves, and a turkey pan to steam the wool once it was done. Here’s Pointdexter washing her dyed roving in my tub. I loved getting to hang out with Natalie way after everyone left and taking a dinner break.
Alice proved to have innate skills. She’d scrunch something up, dunk it in a little bit of this, paint a bit of that, and it looked amazing. MB made some adorable onesies for her future bambino. Robin made the most impressive 1960’s iconic spiral. Lisa made rainbow-colored fabrics that will surely be sewn into something fun. Olivia started an ombre trend which we were all jealous we hadn’t thought of first!
I made this shirt, with inspiration from Kelly for the diagonal dyeing technique.
I made a few jersey scarves. The color faded, but they’re still fun.
As promised, here’s the thermal shirt I dyed for myself. The long johns didn’t fit me, so I gave them to my friend Erika to dye and keep. I started loving the navy color I had, and all of my things started turning blue-violet.
I tried some folding techniques on a rayon linen blend. I don’t know what I’ll do with them, but I have some nice large pieces of striped dyed pink and blue-violet fabrics now. I would recommend using a more concentrated mix to achieve brighter colors, and definitely letting the dye sit at least 24 hours. The linen turned out well, but I was hasty with the chevron tie dyed fabric that just didn’t work out how I had hoped. I’ll live!
I can’t tell you how much fun we have, and how happy I am to know such wonderful people who like crafty goodness as much as I do. I love seeing the thread of how these people are all connected, and to see it get more intertwined as time goes on. Wow, that makes me sound nerdy, but it’s so true (and I am that nerdy at times!)
The best part of having a studio is that you can make a mess, and the marks can serve as a fun memory later on. See the aftermath below!
I think the next craft night will have to be something less messy though. I’m thinking I’ll expand our annual Christmas ornament making event!