Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Searching For Chocolate

What…? You say, why not just go to any store and get chocolate, if that's what she is in search of?  Aah, the chocolate that beckons is not sweet and reeking of cocoa powder.  It is the chocolate color in fabric for rug making. 
That is my most used color and one of the most difficult to find in thrift store sheets.  They surely make chocolate colored dye. (I even toyed with the idea of using cocoa for dye…but no, it is too precious to waste on dye.) I have dyed fabric before mostly in grays.  I have a large stash of ivory and white sheets, colors which I rarely use.  Why not dye them? 

(If you want to see some of the rugs that I make, take a look at my rug blog: http://dreampackerrug.blogspot.com/)

 So, make a trek to the store, not for Hershey's kisses, but for Rit's dye.  Alas, Smith's does not carry any brown dye.  Hmmmm. What makes brown?  Complimentary colors.  Red and Green?  So, I got red (wine) and dark green.  Followed the instructions, for stove top dyeing…adding salt.  Wetting the fabric first.  Stir…dissolve, then add the sheet to the pot. 

Whoa, the green is mostly gray and adding the red….well, it doesn't really produce brown.  Did a few items and looked at the result.  Wow, tie dying.  Dried them in the dryer and inspected the colors and patterns. The patterns were so gorgeous that I couldn't possibly cut these works of art into strips to make rugs.  (These photos do NOT do justice. click on any photo for an enlarged image.)

I still needed brown, though.  So, I searched for the natural dye that would make dark brown.  Black Walnut bark?  No, don't have that.  Coffee? 

Doesn't make DARK brown, but it might brown down the gray a bit.  So, into the basement to retrieve the old can of Maxwell House (probably at least 30 years old. Looks like coffee holds up well under long term storage. No weevils.) So, I made some coffee, probably not brewed properly because all I have ever done with it…is  colonic irrigations.  Tried dyeing with it and it just made a light tan. 

Oh, well, back to the Dyeing Board.
Back to a different store and found Dark Brown dye.

  Yay, Walmart!  Got some more white sheets at the Salvation Army.  (Did you know that they donate all their date expired bakery items to charities such as the Salvation Army?  Where it is distributed for free.  Yay, Walmart again. ) I found a beautiful King size chocolate colored top sheet, brand new at Savers for $6.  It was so gorgeous and luxurious and was 100% Indian cotton with an astronomical thread count.  That one goes on the bed.
Any way tried again with the sheet dyeing.  The new brown dye was not very brown and turned out more gray.  Hmmm. What would warm up the color?  I have Orange Kool Aid.  Added a package to the color bath and yes, it did warm it up. (Colorfully speaking.) Got some more interesting items.
Many thoughts went through my head about what I could do with the beautiful fabric.  Art Quilts? Skirts?  Blouses?  then I thought of Tablecloths.  Yes, that is it.  I will be making some beautiful art tablecloths that coordinate beautifully with my china, even the blue and cream.

I was also excited to find a way to use vintage white print sheets, just add a little color.


Penny Johnson said...

I am enjoying your web site. Thank you. About brown color for dying. I remember reading in, of all places, "Gone with the Wind!" that walnut hauls would make a brown dye. I do not know if this is true. But.....
Again, thank you. Penny Johnson P.S. Maybe a small rub would work to go over a felt saddle pad??? Well, I just knew that I could bring in the subject of horses somehow. Penny

Penny Johnson said...

Not rub..meant to write RUG! Penny

Desertbound said...

My mom has so much talent, it can't possibly all be held in one bottle of dye. The tablecloths are beautiful!!