Monday, March 7, 2016

Folding a Mandala

As Elizabeth mentioned in a previous blog, she has received a lot of inspiration from a Facebook group on tie dyeingThat group has an extensive list of videos, photos, and descriptions of everything to do with tie dyeing from the dyes themselves to the folding techniques.  It was here that she followed a photo tutorial on folding mandalas to get the basics.

The first step was to soda ash soak the fabric.  Many tie dyers dye with damp fabrics and just as many dye with dry fabric.  The main difference seems to be in saturation with dry fabric giving you less areas of white (undyed spaces) because the water in the moist fabric takes up some of the space where the dye could go.  Tightness of the fold, roll, scrunch, pleat, etc also may give you areas of white space.  There are a lot of variables if one wants a planned product.  Luckily, Elizabeth is fond of serendipity and leans towards being happy with whatever turns out.

First she folds her fabric in half and then if folding something with 8 or multiples of 8 she would fold the fabric in fourths before starting to fold her “wedges” from the quarter squares.  She varies the folds from front to back also, like an accordion fold.  If folding something with 6 or multiples she needs to angle the wedges differently.  It is fun to experiment and play with different ways to fold.  You can practice with paper or on small bandanna sized squares of fabric or even inexpensive cotton tea towels which are sold in bundles at big box stores and on-line. 

After completing her wedge she then rolls it into a log; again it could be varied by folding the wedge end in toward the middle if desired and rolling the log from the short pointed in at the center or the fabric edges as the center would also give you a different look. 

Loosely adding some rubber bands around the log and/or at the end of the log to create a pie look will help place dye in different segments but if you don’t need them, you can eliminate them.  Tight rubber bands could be used if you want the rubber band to create a resist and have a space without dye.

She props her log up in a vertical container large enough to hold the log and also be able to pack snow around the top and sides.  Choose your dye colors and place them in the desired spots.  Use a respirator for maximum protection from loose dye powders which are harmful to your lungs.  Then, place your snow (or crushed ice if you live where you can’t get snow) around the log and let it sit for several days so the dye can truly set.

Rinse out all excess dye powder using cold water so the color will not back stain on your fabric.  When your rinse water runs clear, then you can rinse and wash in hot water using synthropol.

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