Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Dagger Beads
Orange and Gold Venetian Dagger Beads

School carries on too long in New York State.   Thursday was the last day of the year for my husband & brother-in-law and they went straight from their classrooms to the tractor.

Dragonfly charms
Limited Edition Dragonfly Colors

It is hot and the days are long and the hay needs to be put in before it rains.

In spite of summer being busy season on the farm, it is often a quiet season in the studio.   Now is a great chance to stock up on beading supplies and get a head start on Holiday gift giving.

I’m offering a coupon for 20% off orders of $20.00 or more until July 31st.  The coupon is good for everything in my GoblinsMarket etsy shop.  Use the code MAKINGHAY at checkout.

Aqua Blue Beads
Aqua Blue Center Cut Beads with Picasso Finish




New Beads and Scarves in Etsy Shop

Jersey scarf in purple and gold
Alchemy dyed Jersey scarf in orchid purple and golden ivory

I’ve spent the last few days taking photos and uploading items into GoblinsMarket on Etsy.

If you are looking for the perfect summer gift for yourself or others, you will find some Ice dyed and Alchemy dyed jersey scarves.  The fabric is a sustainable organic hemp rayon which takes the dye beautifully.  They are unbelievably soft with gorgeous drape and they don’t wrinkle easily, which makes them the perfect vacation accessory.

Ice dyed rayon jersey scarf
hemp rayon hand dyed scarf in blues & greens

I also listed some gorgeous beads that I bought this spring.  There are some really beautiful Venetian style beads in shades of purple,  firey orange and a mouth watering avocado green.

I also listed some clearance beads and some beads that have been hanging around the studio waiting to be photographed for a while.  You can find all the new beads in the Czech glass section of GoblinsMarket on Etsy.

Orchid amethyst and citrine glass with venetian finish
9×6 Venetian glass droplet beads in orchid, amethyst and citrine.
gold finish avocado green druks
4mm druks – avocado green with gold venetian finish
3x11 venetian daggers in pink and purple
Venetian gold dust finish on pink and purple dagger beads 3x11mm
Green drop beads with venetian gold finish
Avocado Gold Dust Droplet Beads 9x6mm

Ice Dyeing Tutorial

Jersey Ice Dye
Ice Dye on Rayon Hemp Jersey

I promised a tutorial on Ice Dying in my last post but Dharma Trading already has an excellent Ice Dying tutorial.  I’ll give you a brief overview here and examples of ice dye on various fabrics.  Pop over to Dharma’s tutorial for detailed photos of the process.

Silk Dupioni Ice Dyed
Ice Dye on Silk Dupioni – blues are muted – as expected on silk – color texture is sharp and “fractured”

Ice Dying is surprisingly Simple.  Start with clean, plant fiber or silk fabric soaked in a soda ash solution: 1 cup per gallon of water.   Scrunch the fabric up and lay it on a draining rack above a sink or tub.  Cover the fabric with ice chips.  These can be large or small – you can even use snow.  I like using ice that has been partially crushed as different sizes of ice result in different color texture on the finished cloth.

Raw Silk Suiting Ice Dyed
Ice Dye on Raw Silk Suiting – blues are again muted, color texture is softer than on dupioni.

Sprinkle Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes over the ice.  You can use a little or a lot.   This is where the real fun is – use dyes in the same color family for a monochromatic result or use different colors for a rainbow garden effect.  This is one technique where you can put chartreuse or green next to purple or orange and not end up with an ugly muddy mess.  As the dye migrates down the melting ice chips, the first color to hit the fabric strikes and succeeding colors bleed out from the area, resulting in some really lovely auras, halos and gradients.

Denim Ice Dye
Pale blue denim Ice Dyed with green, fuchsia and purple. The denim takes the dye with a watercolor effect – hard edges and soft gradients.

Leave the ice on the fabric until it all melts and keep the fabric damp overnight.  Then rinse & wash the fabric out, hang it to dry and enjoy the fabulous results.

I have had a lot of fun experimenting with this effect on different textures of fabric.  Thicker fabrics, like denim and silk suiting, have an almost ink stained effect.  You can see how the melting ice carried the dye like a glacier carries pebbles.  There is a hard line where the dye hit the fabric and stopped moving with a soft gradient behind the line where the remains of the dye eventually soaked through to the fibers.

Dupioni silk has a crisper effect.  Because Dupioni has such tiny threads and tight weave, it does not wet out as well as other fabrics so ice dying results in a crackled or fractured look to it with lots of crisp edges and hard definition between colors and between dyed & undyed areas.  (see photo above)

Bamboo cotton Ice Dye
Ice Dye on Bamboo Cotton blend quilting fabric

A smooth woven bamboo cotton blend quilting fabric resulted in an impressionistic watercolor effect.  There are some nice, hard lines and lots of soft gradients.  Complimentary colors placed close to each other did not turn to mud but stayed clear and bright.  Bits of the one yard section that I dyed would make a very nice starting point for some floral embroidery.

Rayon Jersey Ice Dye
Blue and Brown Ice Dye on Hemp Rayon Jersey

My favorite by far, though was ice dying on a lightweight hemp rayon jersey that I have had laying around for a while.  The jersey wets out really nicely and crumples well going on the draining board so there are lots of ridges and valleys under the ice.  Because the fibers stay nice and wet, colors strike and then bleed out into some of their component pigments.  There were some really fabulous halos on some of those pieces.   The fabric is slightly shimmery – something I hadn’t noticed when it was white – but that slight shimmer allows the dyes to really shine.  Colors were also more bright and true on the bamboo/cotton blend because Procion dyes really loves those cellulose (plant based) fibers.  Silks are more problematic because they are a protein fiber instead of a cellulose fiber.

Be bold and try some ice dying this summer!  It is quick and easy and the results are so much fun!  If you are afraid to try on your own, rumor has it that I will be teaching an Ice Dying class in Potsdam this August for the St. Lawrence County Arts Council.  We are still looking for the right date so I will keep you posted.    Also look in the scarves section of my Etsy shop for some wonderful ice dyed rayon jersey scarves.