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Elemental Quiltworks

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  • trudigriffin

The Dying of Winter

I am a bit of a procrastinator. (Those that know me are doubled over in laughter by the "a bit".) I've had a long time to mull over my intentions to do some snow dying. Our winter snowficially started in November....maybe even October. So, the material needed has been at my avail for months. When do I decide to snow dye? Today....


Can you spot the snow in the back yard?

So, the soaking of the fabric begins. Linen, cotton and cotton lawn.


I use PFD (prepared for dying) fabrics. They have not been treated with sizing, starch, or anything that could get between the fibres and the dyes.

After soaking the fabric pieces they can be folded, scrunched, twisted..... Each will produce a different effect, although all are pretty unpredictable....which is the delight of this process.


This is a piece of linen that I have folded accordian style, ironing each fold. Then I soaked it carefully and rolled it, using a strip of screen and a clamp to keep it in place.

Each prepared piece is set on a screen that has been clamped over a plastic bin to allow drainage as the snow melts and the dyes soak into the fibres. I cut the fabric in a variety of sizes and shapes. I often do half-yard cuts, but wanted smaller coordinating pieces, so there are fat quart-ish pieces as well at larger cuts and I have several strips, WOF by about 4 to 6 inches.


After the bin screens are full, it's out to the yard to pile snow onto the them.


This end-of-season snow is very crystally (new word). Other batches I've done have been with finer, fluffier snow. We'll see if it effects the results.

Snow is piled about 3 to 4 inches deep over the fabric, making sure it's even right out to the edges. Now for the fun! The adding of the dyes begins!


The first colour in the first bin is a brazil nut. I'm determined to stay away from the pinks that I seem to unconsciously gravitate too. So, the fuchsia and the pomegranate are still in the supply bucket. After the brown, I added a deep azure blue and an avocado green. Later in the process I wondered if this might be too blahhh and added some golden yellow as an after thought. We'll see, when rinsed, how that goes.


The first bin is done.....for the time being.

For the next bin I've planned to use my blues to get some tonal pieces. As an afterthought, I ended up adding just small touches of jet black to the snow to ground the blues and give the pieces some added depth.


The blue bin is at the wait-and-see stage.

I will rinse out the pieces tomorrow, revealing how the dyes have soaked into the fabrics.....I can hardly wait.


My pop-up dying station in the back yard.

The sun was out, so the snow was melting quickly. I'm hoping I don't have to bring it in the house to finish melting, but we'll see. The predicted temps are for much over 7 C. After checking it later in the afternoon, there was a sneak peak at what some of it might look like.



I think this is a piece of cotton that's going to be blue, blue, blue!

Stay tuned! I should soon be able to post the resulting pieces all rinsed and ready!

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