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Topic: Help with Low Water Immersion.  (Read 2513 times)
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« on: September 29, 2012 06:35:39 PM »

Last night i did lwi for the first time to five different strips of cotton fabric. I dont know what i did wrong. I feel like i got misleading information off of some websites.

I started by soaking my fabric in hot water, no soda ash added. After letting them soak for a while i wrung them out and crumpled and tied with rubber bands. Next i stuffed the fabric into mason jars and poured my dye that i just mixed with chemical water over it. I heard that blue colors need more heat so i covered my jar tops with cellophane  Like i was told to do, and microwaved it for a minute or two. Next i let them sit for fifteen minutes and then i poured hot water + soda ash over it and let it sit there for a while. Then i took it out of the jars( there was black liquid at the bottom of each one and i was worried it was going to soak through and ruin it) and put each piece of fabric into a different bag and waited 24 hours, washed with synthrapol.. colors came out looking okay but not near as bright as I was expecting them to be. I used procion fiber reactive dye and all the stuff your supposed to use with it so I was expecting well...more than this. Did I do something wrong?
Can someone point me in a better direction?
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012 07:01:46 AM »

I had some trouble with LWI when I first tried it, too. I thought, "It seems so easy! What am I doing wrong?" I finally found that the size of the container restraining my fabric had a lot to do with the results. But since you tied your fabric in addition to placing it in a small container, that's probably not where you went wrong.

Unfortunately, I have not tried LWI with fiber reactive dye, so I'm not sure about all the pre/post care stuff. Though it sounds like all that is right on.

When I do LWI, I actually like to have some dye already in the container before I squish my fabric in. Then, if doing a second color, I pour that on top.

How long did you let the fabric sit in the dye? How much dye did you mix into your water? I'd play around with those two factors first, and see what happens. Obviously, the more dye you mix and the longer it sits, the stronger your colors will be, but also the more bleeding you'll get. You don't want to end up with a solid color, so it can be tricky. I usually let my LWI sit for about an hour. 30 mins if I'm really worried I'm getting too much bleed, though I usually regret taking it out so soon. I've let it sit as long as 12 hours with a single color and still gotten good results. I think LWI involves a lot of trial and error, so just play around with the variables and have fun!

Hope this helps. Let us know how you make out!
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2012 10:07:20 AM »

Were the colors too faded or pastel? Or deep but not intensive or vivid?

Did you follow the color recipe for a medium hue or a deep hue? If you used the recipe for medium (~1 - 1.5 tsp/cup), try using the formula for a dark hue (~2 - 3 tsp/cup).

Another possibility is the wrong color choice. Colors like sage will get dark and deep, but will never be intense or vivid. Dharma Trading Company and ProChem Dye and Chemical both have online color charts for Procion MX. Of course there is always the problem of the same color looking different on different monitors. You can contact Customer Service at either place for suggestions for colors that will turn out bright and vivid on your fiber.

Fabric sometimes has coatings or other things that prevent the dye from bonding with the fibers. Try pre-washing your fabric with synthrapol before dying it.

All 100% cotton is not the same! Mercerized cotton will dye deeper and richer than ordinary broadcloth.
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012 04:41:00 PM »

I do a lot of low water immersion dyeing,
the colors always end up a little muddy, so it's best to start with pure colors and let the secondary mixes happen naturally when two colors mix.

From the way I understand the fiber reactive dyes to work, heat is not going to help the turquoise dye if it's before the soda ash is added.

My method for LWI is to prewash, and then soak the fabric and then I'll either go one or two routes, one is cram the fabric into a container and then pour the dyes over.  I let that sit and usually pour off the extra dye and then add the soda ash mix.
OR I'll fold the fabric, and put in a shallow container, pour the dyes on, stll pour off any extra (like the black that was at the bottom of your container) and then added the soda ash mixture.

I never let them sit for 24 hours though.  In a warm room, anywhere from 45 minutes to just a couple of hours in plenty.

I also don't use synthrapol, (or however you spell that one), I use either Dharma's textile detergent or regular Dawn liquid soap, both work perfectly.
Hope that helps some.  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2012 02:52:27 PM »

Color intensity can also be dependent on the fabric that you use. Even plain cotton can dye very differently depending on the weave and whether it has been mercerized, etc. I have taken dye classes where students bring different brands of similar weight cotton and everyone gets different intensities of dye using the exact same dyebaths for the same length of time.

I don't like to leave lwi in the baths for more than a few hours at most. For dyes in jars, I leave them for maybe 1 hr, since I often work with soy wax batik, and the soda ash destroys the soy wax. For something like snow dyeing, 4-5 hours has worked well for me, while overnight gave a boring muddle of color.

Turquoise is an annoying color in general, you could try using Glaubers salt instead of regular salt for better results. It also tends to bleed out for a long time in the rinse, both for fiber reactive and acid dyes.

I will also say that I am often disappointed in the depth of color of procion dyes on cotton, and tend to work with extra-concentrated dye solutions to get more color. I find working with acid dyes more fun, especially for silks (soooooo quick and strong color), but sadly cotton is less willing to take dyes.

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