Join me online and learn how to dye cotton in a controlled manner – creating luscious, complex colors with lots of visual texture.
This class will teach you how to use fiber reactive dyes to color cotton using low water immersion (LWI) methods. Dyeing fabric using LWI gives you an uneven flow of color that provides incredible visual texture. I crave colors with complexity, those that are made from all 3 primary colors, they have subtle nuances in hue that make people want to invent new color names. This led me to the creation of my “Candiotic Table of Elemental Color”. It is 66 different ways to combine 3 different primary colors…twice, done in 2 different sets of primary colors. Because I was very interested in how each color would look when dyed by LWI, the swatches are dyed in this manner as well.
After creating this awesome reference palette, you will learn how to use it to dye larger pieces of your favorite hues. You will then create traditional color wheels of each set of primaries, training your eyes to choose the correct hues to evenly transition from one primary to another. Finally, you will learn how to make shades, tints, and tones of these hues.
It is my intention to show you how I do these things, and then guide you towards creating your own palettes and develop your ability to reproducibly dye a hue in greater quantities next week, and a year from now. I have read and heard multiple times that “the best pieces of fabric are the ones where I just dump the leftover amounts of dyestock”. I heartily disagree! Take control of your color and make those beautiful fabrics intentionally!
This self-paced online course is designed to teach you how to use Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dyes on cotton in a controlled manner. Whether you are a beginner, or someone who has dyed in this manner before, my intention is to help you gain confidence in color mixing on cloth and raise you from apprentice to “journey(wo)man” status. I will lead you through creating a series of color palettes and then teach you how to use those to reproducibly dye small or large amounts of particular hue.
Session 1: Supplies, Tools and Space
We begin by covering what you’ll need to complete everything in this course. The few specialized supplies needed are easily available to order online and the bulk of what you will use are easily purchased locally, or better yet, scavenged from your recycling bin (and perhaps those of your friends as well!). We will also cover how to find a place to do your dyeing safely.
Session 2: Primary tints
For real beginners, this session takes you through the basics of using Procion MX Dyes in a low water immersion process and allows you to quickly create some lovely gradations of three primary colors, like this:
Session 3: First 66 Step Triad
You will prepare (66) 5″ x 5″ swatches and dye vessels, mix your dye stocks of your first set of 3 primary colors and dye your swatches.
Session 4: Second 66 Triad
You will prepare (66) 5″ x 5″ swatches and dye vessels, mix your dye stocks of your second set of 3 primary colors and dye your swatches. You could postpone creating this second triad until you’ve covered the rest of the lessons. There is plenty of color to choose from using only 3 primary colors.
Session 5: Assembling the “Candiotic Table of Elemental Color”
You will make the 60″ square palette with permanent labels shown above.
Session 6: Scaling up your chosen hue
After your “Candiotic Table…” is complete, you need to start using it! This session covers how to make more of any one of these hues, whether it’s 1/4 yard or 10 yards.
Session 7: Color Wheel Creation
You will create a color wheel for each set of primary dyes.
Session 8: Shades, Tints and Tones
In this final session, you will expand your color wheels by creating shades, tints and tones
Course Time Commitment
This is a self-paced course, meaning you can take it as quickly or slowly as you need to. I estimate that a motivated student could complete each session in two 8 hour days (so, every weekend for almost two months). If you wanted to, you could devote an entire 2 weeks to following this through, beginning to end (what a creative vacation that could be!) However, most of us have lots of other things to do, so at every step along the way I will point out time sensitive steps and discuss how the work could be distributed to fit your needs. (I created these palettes when my 2 boys were very young, so I know how dye around 3 busy schedules!)
Course Access Limit
There is none! You will always be able to return to re-view a video, see if there are questions that other students have asked that are interesting, re-download a sheet that you’ve lost on your computer.
The content of the site includes over 5 hours of videos, 90 pages of .PDF files (all the content except for the videos that you can download and save on your computer) plus 2 multi-page spreadsheets to use in calculating dye amounts and a worksheet for each session. Each session will have a Question and Answer forum associated with it – I will respond to any question you have within 24 hours, and both these questions and answers will be available for other registered students to view. The beauty of an online course is that if several people are having the some difficulty with a particular step, I will just create additional content to add to the session to clarify any confusion.
Take this class if…
- You love hand dyed fabrics.
- You would like to have a better understanding of how to create a certain hue on cotton fabric.
- You are tired of dyeing lackluster colors, or dyeing yards and yards of fabric in search of that ONE hue you just have to have.
Please don’t take this class if…
- The idea of measuring things gives you hives.
- You want to just add dye to fabric and “see what happens”.
Why learn from me?
By day, I teach biology to students at the University of Redlands who are non-science majors. I am very comfortable engaging my students and putting complex ideas into terms they understand. I’ve spent 15 years learning how to dye fabric, and developed this way of dyeing to accommodate my busy schedule and not waste my limited resources. I have 9 “how to” articles published in various Interweave publications (see list here), I have been a guest on four episodes of Quilting Arts TV, and I created a workshop DVD for Quilting Arts last August. A video clip from that can be found here, and is a great introduction to my teaching style.
When does it start?
Whenever you like! This class is complete, and ready to go whenever you are! Remember, this is a self paced class with no expiration date! (Another way to look at this course is that this is a book, with videos to walk you through complex steps visually, and you can ask the writer of the book any questions you have!)
What do I need?
Dyeing does require a fair amount of supplies, but the vast majority of them are easily and cheaply obtainable, and can be satisfied a number of different ways. In the class I explain why and how to obtain these supplies, and suggest options where appropriate and point out when substitutions would not work. Here is a simple checklist for you to quickly see all the supplies for the entire course. Please feel free to email me (Candy@CandiedFabrics.com) if you have any particular questions about any of these.