Snow Dyeing

We had a lovely gentle snowfall the past couple of days, and I succumbed to the allure of snow dyeing.  It’s been a topic on the dyer’s list and I didn’t think I’d like dyeing fabric this way.  Was I ever wrong. 

It’s really easy, you get wonderful colors, and surprise, surprise, the excess dye rinses out quickly and easily.  This is great for the ecosystem. 

I buy a lot of my dyes from ProChem – as I’m on the east coast and shipping is less expensive for me.  I used grape 801, navy 412, and created a nice blue green color by using equal parts of 402 mixing blue with 108 sun yellow.  The dye concentrate was 6% , and used I about 150 ml of concentrate on each batch. 

A  little plastic drawer with grid like openings in the bottom came in very handy.  It was placed upside down in a larger plastic container to catch the melted snow/dye solution:


The fabric was scoured in Synthrapol and pretreated with soda ash, then scrunched on top of the basket.  I tried to get a good 3″ of snow on top, but it was so light and fluffy, it kept on falling down the sides of the container. 

The first batch was a linen/rayon blend I purchased at JoAnns – one of their 70% off bargains I purchased last summer – and I placed a scrunched layer of cheesecloth on top:


The linen/rayon blend is a hefty material, but I still got some nice crystalized sections:


And you can see the plastic basket indentions in this photo:


The second batch was a couple of yards of Osnaburg:

I used way too much dye on this.  I should have left more white areas.  It looks good to me, but this fabric yielded very little crystalized sections – I think because of not leaving enough white on the snow surface, and because of the fabric properties – nubby surface and thicker thread than quilting cottons.

I swear, I see a green rose in this piece.  There is a light area behind it, but am I the only one who “sees” that green rose?

I also dyed some Perle cotton thread for my crazy quilt embroidery and used old men’s handkerchiefs to wipe up as I was dyeing everything.  It saves on using a lot of paper towels, and I end up with some gorgeous hand dyed handkerchiefs. 

I have company coming for supper tonight, but plan on trying one more batch tomorrow – this time with a fine cotton.  I think I’ll get very different results, and I’ll use some different colors too. 



7 Responses to “Snow Dyeing”

  1. Vicki W Says:

    That linen/rayon piece is beautiful!!

  2. sion Says:

    those are both stunning pieces of fabric. Especially the bottom one (yes there’s a green rose).

  3. WEN Says:

    Those are lovely but a question keeps popping up in my head about this process,
    Does the dye just go into the ground when the snow melts and does that matter?

    • dianemblog Says:

      The dye goes down the drain – like all the run off from everything I dye in the winter. I try to neutralize the ph as I’m on a septic system. I use pool supply soda ash and have been dyeing fabric and yarn for over 10 years. So far, the septic system has held up just fine. In the summer, I spread it on my gravel driveway to kill the weeds, and it doesn’t do a very good job. It’s too diluted to kill much of anything.

  4. judi Says:

    I love your pieces. I have been doing this for over a year now and have made over 800 yards of this fabric. I love it and so do my customers. Yes I can see the rose kewl!

  5. teri Says:

    The pieces are lovely. And I do indeed see the green rose. Your colour choices are wonderful.

    If you really like this kind of dyeing you really don’t need snow. You can just freeze the wet, soda-ash treated fabric in a plastic container in the deep freeze.


  6. Dolores Says:

    Love the Rose!

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