My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Why it pays to test your dyes.

I received some old procion fabric dyes from a textile artist who longer needed them.  Unsure of their age or how they've been stored, I'm using them hesitantly and if it's for something important, I'm testing them first.

Here is a really good example why.

I made this blue dye up as per my usual recipe and added it to soda ash soaked cotton fabric as per

The top photo is the dye solution squeezed through the fabric.  I left it to batch for over 24 hours and then took the bottom photo after it was rinsed.  You always get some washout and lightening but the amount that I got is nowhere near acceptable and shows me that this particular dye has well and truly lost its potency.

I searched for Multicraft Manufacturing Ltd online and I found that it was dissolved as a company in 2009, so that gives me a hint as to just how old that dye might be!

The reason I was testing this particular dye was because I had been mucking about doing random serendipitous work with the gifted dyes and noticed that none of my pieces had turned out as blue as I expected after the rinse.  However, I also had a few pieces of silk organza in the mix and they are quite blue.  I've read somewhere that you can use old procion dyes on silk with vinegar (protein fibres work best with acid as a fixative whereas cellulose fibres need a base) and get good results.  So before I biff this jar of dye powder I'm going to run one more test on silk with vinegar.

Watch this space.


  1. I laughed when I read the company had been dissolved......You were talking about dyes.


Hi, I love reading comments, so thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me a message :)
Due to a huge increase in spam, I've disabled anonymous comments. Apologies if this effects any real life readers!