top of page

Explorations in Dye and Color

Above: Itajime shibori mash up

Hello and happy spring! 2023 has so far been an intense and colorful year! I'd been wanting to step into fabric dyeing for quite some time. I finally got my head in the game when a fellow quilter posted some gorgeous ice-dyed mandalas she produced in Cindy Lohbeck's Dyehards workshop on her IG feed. Cindy is an expert dyer, highly skilled in a multitude of dyeing and resist methods. She offers live and online workshops, along with accompanying and stand alone kits to successfully execute her techniques. So, signing up was a no brainer! I took two consecutive workshops using fiber reactive dyes and two different shibori resist techniques.

The first workshop I took was an Itajime shibori mash up, combining the traditional concept of folding and clamping shapes onto fabric with an ice dye process to create snowflakes (photo above). We also learned about the characteristics of the fiber reactive dyes and grades of activators we were using, four different fabric folds, and how to achieve optimal results. I took the workshop at the end of January and am still engrossed both in the dyeing technique and incorporating the finished pieces into projects.

The project above incorporates a dyed Itajime shibori block as the central focus within this "Circus Ring" quilt top. Quilt pattern by Erin Nichole, Mija Handmade.

The second of Cindy's Dyehards workshops I took taught a Nui shibori technique. This technique uses pleats and stitching as the resist to produce shapes and patterns. This was an early February workshop, so we made Valentine hearts. My stitched hearts (on either end) produced "Sacred Heart" effects. The apple, which was pleated and fastened with a rubber band resulted in clean lines. I'm thrilled with all of these outcomes and look forward to quilting them.

The results of color placement and mixing in these workshops prompted my recollection of a SAQA virtual discussion I attended, given by David Hornung, entitled Color Concept: Using Hue, Value, and Saturation. I grabbed a copy of his book, Color: A Workshop for Artists & Designers, interested in its immersive workshop approach, as well as the instruction for executing the color studies in both paint/paper and digital format.

As I have Adobe Illustrator readily available, it was convenient to begin the studies digitally, prior to procuring painting supplies. I also found it handy to be able to convert the color palettes I was creating to grayscale within the program to determine values.

Above: Color value using Adobe Illustrator, with grayscale conversion.

I always enjoy advancing my learning with new techniques and skills, and look forward to applying these workshop concepts as I continue to build my own original designs.

Until next time, wishing you a journey full of color and inspiration!

- Liz


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page