Preparing and concocting

White fabric wet with dye activator.

Cobalt and yellow.

I took my large pile of plain cotton fabric (scraps from tees and sweats, etc) and prepared them for dyeing. I cut them into manageable pieces and washed them with Synthrapol to get them ready for the colorful chemicals.

After running them through the dryer (no fabric softener, of course), I bound many of the pieces with minty dental floss, folding some like fans, pleating and knotting others.

Tying it all up

Newly mixed dyes.

Before unfolding.

I was ready to apply the dye, and the shibori shindig had begun! After a quick chemistry lesson, I used several different ways of applying the dye, including:

  • stuffing the fabric into canning jars and pouring in different colors on top,
  • using a plastic tub to squirt more concentrated colors throughout some of the larger pieces,
  • placing some of the twisted and bound pieces into ziplock bags and applying dyes with a turkey baster


Shibori dots, after.

Pleats, after.

More shibori dots.

I got to unveil the results after letting the bundles cure overnight. I must say, I don’t think I could ever tire of witnessing such transformations from plain to spectacular! For those of you who are regulars at this sort of thing: am I right or am I right?

I didn’t really have an expected end-result in mind, other than accomplishing several shades of ocean-blues and greens with a few “bubbles” in there from the bound dots. I trusted that the fabric would succeed in being patterned whichever way it wanted. It would be an extra bonus if it actually “followed my advice.” I’m squealing happy I didn’t drop the F-bomb on it.

As a side note, I’m really excited to be participating in the Paper Quilt Project for March, so I’ll be talking about that soon.