I love quilt shows, bright colors, and testing new (to-me) products! Last spring when I went to a local quilt show I saw PRO Chemical & Dye Company at the vendor mart and their vibrant fabrics drew me in! I couldn’t help looking at all of the lovely dyed cotton fibers and thinking there were so many possibilities! Just imagine…
After looking over the basic kits for beginners I decided to try one. I’m always looking for fun things to try and I could picture myself working with these dyes on a bright sunny day – outside in the summertime. I selected the Rainbow Gradation kit. The ProChem rep explained that this kit will produce 30 graduated colors in a rainbow hue – PRISM COLORS – that step down in value with each measured portion.
~ All I needed was the perfect day with warm temperatures and no wind ~
Finally! Two weeks ago I had a free day (something rare in my busy life) and I decided it was a perfect day to experiment with these vibrant hues and cotton fabrics. I took out my kit, gathered my supplies, and set up outside for the day. It was Go Time!
The ProChem MX Prism Kit contained the following supplies.
- Color A – 10 gms Pro MX Sun Yellow #108
- Color B – 10 gms Pro MX Fuscia #308
- Color C – 10 gms Pro MX Intense Blue #406
- 20 gms Pro Dye Activator
- 1 oz Synthropol
- 1 oz Soften-it
I gathered the additional supplies needed, all easily found around the house.
- (30) Plastic cups (numbered 1 to 30)
- (3) One Liter Measuring Cups (with spouts)
- Warm water
- Measuring spoons
- Liquid dropper
- Plastic table cloth
- Latex gloves
- Permanent marker
- Disposable chop sticks (to stir the dye baths)
I purchased 3 yards of white Kona Cotton and prewashed it. After the prewashing and drying it, I ripped it into 30 pieces, approximately 9” x 15”. Finally, using a permanent marker, I numbered each piece of fabric from 1 to 30.
After gathering my supplies, and prepping my work space I was ready to begin this excellent adventure. I wet each one of the white cotton squares and placed them in the corresponding numbered cup.
With my latex gloves on, I emptied the contents of each dye packet into a one liter mixing container, added 3 Tbs of warm water and mixed the pigments into a paste. When the pigments were fully diluted, I filled the measuring cups with one quart of hot water (temperature between 75° and 90°). I lined up the numbered cups and while following the chart above, I began mixing the colors for the 30 step gradation. This was one of my favorite steps! I was a mixologist!
Next, I dissolved the Dye Activator (Soda Ash) in warm water. When the color dye portions were mixed, each cup then got a 2 oz shot of PRO Dye Activator (Soda Ash). This is the most important step in making sure that these dyed fabrics would remain color fast and vibrant. I used the chop sticks to stir each cup and remove any air bubbles that may have collected inside.
I wanted a mottled result with these fabrics, so I only stirred them once. If you desire a more even coverage, stir each cup a little longer. When I was done mixing the colors this is what the process looked like.
They looked like Jello Shots! I was already wondering what the results would be, but I had to wait at 4 – 8 hours to find out. I placed all of the cups into a container and set them aside while I cleaned up.
After waiting about 8 hours I put the latex gloves back on and took each piece of fabric out of the cup and rinsed it under cold tap water. I placed each piece into the washing machine, added the Synthropol to set the dye and prevent running.
Here are the finished graduated fabrics, ready to be used in a future quilt. I loved the dye process and may be trying it again. I think I’d like to try dying a batch of fabrics in neutral colors: Brown, Greys, and Greens. It was the perfect way to spend a sunny, lazy, summer afternoon.
I will be looking for ProChem at the next quilt show. There are endless possibilities here..
As Always – I’m Embracing Optimism and Going the Distance!
- For Supplies please visit: ProChemical and Dye Company
- For MSDS and product safety info visit: ProChem Material Data Safety Sheets