Color by Accident by Ann Johnston

Color by Accident by Ann JohnstonAt some point in your quilting life you will want to play with dyeing your own fabrics. Either because you keep hearing about how others do it and how easy it is. Or because you really, really want to create your own colours for your stash or a particular quilt.

I did it initially because I was curious about the process then I found I really enjoyed coming up with piles of new colours for my quilts.

For several years the kitchen in our Virginia house would be taken over by a mask wearing fiend who spread ziplock bags filled with swirls of colour and scrunched muslin all over every available surface. It made sense to create great wodges of hand dyed fabric in one session because it is a fairly messy and intrusive process. It takes a couple of days – because you are leaving the cooking fabrics overnight and then washing them out the next morning. While my husband was travelling and didn’t need feeding the kitchen was mine!

There is a section in my stash filled with those fabrics and quite a few quilts out there with Rushbrooke hand dyes.

Ann Johnston’s tiny book is one of the best reference and tutorial books out there on low-water immersion dyeing.

Gold/Magenta/Purple layers of fabric being dyed in a glass jarThe chapters are as follows (and read them all as they are jam packed full of information you are very happy to have):

• Useful information on dyes, chemicals, water, temperature, time, fabric and color. Pay attention to this – you will come back to this section over and over.

• A list of supplies – all of which you can gather over a period of time or go whole hog (which I usually do) and get the lot all at once.

• A short chapter on the method of dyeing.

• And a following chapter on five different variations on the general method of low-water immersion dyeing. This will keep you busy for months and months, possibly years and years if you really get into dyeing your own fabric.

• A section on exploring color – more things to learn about how to play with your dyes.

• More suggestions in the chapter on dyeing the colors of the four seasons.

• Questions answered and a bunch of appendix with more stuff you will keep referring to.

This is a book I will never lend or sell. The fundamentals of home dyeing your own fabrics are succinctly put together in this neat little spiral bound book.

Published by Ann Johnston

Website: Ann Johnston