Dyeing, Batik and Otherwise

The two books I use most to achieve dyed effects or to dye several shades of the same color are Dyeing to Quilt by Joyce Mori and Cynthia Myerberg and Hand-Dyed Fabric Made Easy by Adrienne Buffington. Both of these teach you how to begin the dyeing process with the procion dyes. I especially enjoy dyeing six or eight tints of the same color for a quilt or dyeing white on white fabric. The white pattern doesn’t pick up the dye so you might have a deep orange piece with a white tracery shot through it.

Of course I had to keep moving on. I went into Batik, which is very fun. I use soy wax to make the designs. Traditionally paraffin and/or beeswax are used but I find soy, although it doesn’t easily give that wonderful crackle, is just so much easier to wash out of the fabric. Soy melts easily too. I have had good success painting on designs and using cookie cutters.

Silk scarf, overdyed in blue, pink and green

Cookie cutters are not the traditional tools, however. Tjants (pronounced chants) are long stylus pens with an opening that allow the hot wax to flow onto the fabric in a straight line. I admit I am not very good with these. Some of the people I’ve taught are much better. The traditional tool I love, though,  is the tjaps (pronounced chops). These are copper designs used for stamping the hot wax onto the fabric. Here is my favorite, dragonflies.






Copper dragonfly tjap.

I obtain all my supplies from Dharma Trading in California. Just a heads up – the tjaps are hard to come by. They do have shipments from time to time but you must order immediately.





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