DYEING BASKET REED: Solid, Graduated and Rainbow Shades
BASIC DYEING PROCEDURES
Use pots that will not react with the dye: unchipped (on the inside) enamel, pyrex,
stainless steel. Clean plastic buckets or trash cans will also work.
Keep dye utensils separate from kitchen utensils. Keep all dyes and assisting
chemicals away from children and pets. Wear rubber gloves, especially when working
with liquids. Do not breathe in fumes from a simmering dyepot.
PREPARING THE REED
Soak reed for about one hour, rinse well. It will take less dye per pound to dye reed
than yarn or cloth, because the color does not penetrate to the inside of a piece of
reed. Use less dye for paler shades, with the same amount of water and reed. And more
dye for deeper shades.
PREPARING THE DYEBATH
Dissolve the dye in a quart or so of boiling water, add one tablespoon salt per
packet of dye. Pour enough boiling water to cover the reed you want to dye into a
plastic bucket or trash can or a large pot. Add the dye liquor, mix completely. Add
the presoaked reed. Lay the reed in loosely to avoid overcrowding, which can cause
streaking. Let stand from one hour to overnight, depending on the depth of shade you
want. You can remove some of the reed any time after the first hour for shading
effects. If you are using a vessel that can safely be heated on the stove, you can do
so to get deeper colors.
Rinse the dyed reed in cool running water until the water runs clear. Hang the
individual strands to dry; leave plenty of room between them to prevent the long term
dampness that causes mildew. Always be sure the reed is thoroughly dry before
storing. When resoaking the reed for use in a basket, use a separate container for
each colorthere will be a little bleeding.
Your dyebath can be saved for later use. It will yield lighter shades each reuse.
Store in a sealed container in a dark and cool place. The bath will finally be
exhausted, with no usable color left.
Many baskets are especially nice with graduated shades of the same color. To obtain
light, medium and dark shades of the same color, dissolve a teaspoon of dye powder in
13 teaspoons of water (that's a quarter cup plus one more teaspoon).
Prepare three dyepots using about a quart of boiling water for each. To the first
dyepot add one teaspoon of your dye solution; to the second add three teaspoons; and
to the third add nine (using up all thirteen). Scale up or adjust as you please.
RAINBOW DYEING BASKET REED
Rainbow dyeing basket reed is easy and cheerful. Start by winding a loose coil of
reed, no more than half a pound in weight (you may want to prepare several at once).
Tie in two or three places with cotton string - loose loops, tight knots. Soak in
water for about fifteen minutes.
Choose three or four colors of dye - Cushing Direct Dye, or any other good quality
basket dye. Dissolve one of the colors in hot water and bring to a simmer in an
enameled or stainless pot (one not used for cooking).
Pour the hot dye bath into a rubber wash tub. Prop a coil of reed in the tub so that
only a section is submerged in the dye (a third of the coil or a little more if you
plan to use three colors equally, a quarter or so if there will be four). Add boiling
water if needed to adjust the depth of the dye bath. Let the reed coil soak for at
least 30 minutes, longer for darker colors.
Rinse the reed.
Repeat this procedure with a second color of dye. Rotate the reed-coil so that an
undyed section goes into the new bath. Where dyed sections overlap, the colors will
mix, yielding additional, related, colors.
Keep dyeing undyed sections until all the areas you want to dye have color. Rinse
well, undo coil, and hang the pieces to dry.
An after-bath of ®Retayne will improve colorfastness with any of these methods.