Quilts for Sale

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dyeing 25 Years Ago

One of the early pioneers in fabric dyeing was Debra Millard - now Debra Millard Lunn. I bought her self-published book A Quilter's Guide to Fabric Dyeing in 1985. I have never seen another copy. Anyone out there have one?

I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to put this book together, as it contains actual fabrics, each one carefully positioned. Shown below are just a few examples. All photos are clickable.

The Color Wheel

Value Scale

Value Scale - Tints and Shades

Debra's book served me well as I learned how to dye my own cloth. I finally was able to study with Debra and her partner Michael Mrowka in 1994 at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium - back when it was held at the Josephinum in Columbus. It was after this class that I set out to find a wringer washing machine, regretting that we'd sold the two my parents once had. The techniques and equipment for fabric dyeing were much more labor-intensive back in the day! I still have a few of the five-gallon buckets gathered from the grocery store deli department.

I did finally find a wringer washer as well as a mangle locally. Of course this was just about the time low water immersion (LWI) dyeing was introduced!

I intended to properly press and cut my swatches - really I did.

I dyed these colors during my 'pink, blue, purple and mint green period.' I still use purple and blue. Pink and mint green? Not so much.


Kay Koeper Sorensen said...

I also have a copy and was so thrilled when she did this book.

Ellen Guerrant said...

Kay - Well how cool is that?

Exuberant Color said...

I never took a dyeing class but I was there at QSDS in 1994 too. I took Therese May for the week and Susan Shie for the weekend. It was fun while it was still at Josephinum and so much fun to walk through all of the classrooms to see what everybody else was doing.