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Color by Accident: Low-Water Immersion Dyeing Spiral-bound – 1 May 1997

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Product details

  • Spiral-bound: 94 pages
  • Publisher: Ann Johnston; First Edition edition (1 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965677605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965677608
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.9 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 752,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book

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I have written this book to show you how easy it is to dye one-of-a-kind fabric colors. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ellie-Lou on 9 Nov. 2008
Format: Spiral-bound
Ann Johnston is responsible for two books on dyeing - this one and its companion "Color by Design". (There is a 3rd, older book "Dye painting" - but that's out of print). Both books are accessible enough to be good starting points for a beginner - but have enough information to carry on being useful to more experienced dyers. Quite honestly, if you can only buy two books on dyeing, these would be good choices.

Important to note that both books deal only with cold water, fibre-reactive dyes (Procion MX) - that can be used for cotton, linen, rayon and silk. If you need to dye wool or want to know about acid dyes, you need Holly Brackmann's book (or maybe Kate Wells). Also the books are aimed at quilters and other textile artists - if you are an FE or HE student you may need something more technical (try Wells, Brackmann or Kinnersley Taylor).

Color by Accident covers low water immersion dyeing - which produces random, organic visual texture, not flat colour. Look more closely at the cover of the book to get an idea of the effect. The book covers several techniques using one or several dye colours. They're all easy and relatively quick - and you don't need much space or complicated equipment. The book has a good section on basic colour theory for dyeing and advice on mixing different values and more complex colours. An appendix explains the process for high water immersion dyeing - which will produce flat plain colours if that's what you need.

The second book, "Color by Design", is about ways of applying dye directly to fabric using painting or printing techniques. It covers both thin and thickened dyes and looks at the different effects you can get with each.
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By Amazon Customer on 28 April 2015
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
Very clear and comprehensive instructions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 31 reviews
80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
A well organized guide to achieving excellent color styles 8 Sept. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound
This little monograph is in a ring binder with well reproduced color illustrations of attractive color styles and color combinations. These dyeings have been achieved with cold dyeing Procion MX dyes (BASF - originally invented by ICI) now supplied by three recommended small volume suppliers. The dyeing procedures are simple and easy to use at home, achieving lovely effects on approx 30in x 30in mercerized cotton woven fabric prepared for Printing (Dyeing). It is amazing what lovely fast dyed effects can be achieved at home by a cold dyeing method. Ann Johnston has given the craft trade a gem, particularly intersting for the quilter.
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Color by Accident: Low-Water Immersion Dyeing 21 Jan. 2006
By McKenzie Curtis - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound
As a quilter, who dyes her own fabric, I was disappointed in this book. First, I think her recipe for stock dyes uses a LOT of dye. Procion dyes are not inexpensive and she recommends 2 Tablespoons of dye/cup of water. In most receipes I have used, the yellows use 1 T of dye in 1 cup of water, blues use 2 teaspoons, and reds 1 teaspoon. The author makes no differentiation between colors of dye in her measurements even though the dye companies and all of the other books I have used, do. I think 2 T/cup is overkill and wasteful.

Second, I don't understand her process for adding Soda Ash. I don't think it works well and felt that a lot of the color washed out of the fabrics as a result. Most of the books I've worked with recommend pre-soaking the fabric and this seems to work much better. (They use a lot less dye in their stocks and the colors are brighter.)

Finally, I tried some of her recipes in the book and was disappointed with the results. The colors on the top of the value parfait were too weak and none of the fabrics in that batch had the texture of fabrics dyed by the processes recommended in Dyeing for Quilters, Fabric Dyeing for Beginners, and Robbi Eklow's new book. I ended up over-dyeing them to salvage the fabric. They are the first pieces I've dyed in 6 months that I didn't like.

However, for individuals who want a simple approach to fabric dyeing this book may work well. It simplifies the dye formulas (by using large quantities of dye and omitting salt) and reduces the steps involved in dyeing value runs and color runs. If you don't mind spending the money on dyes, her approach is easy to follow and can yield decent results. I would recommend more agitation and squeezing in the value parfaits to get adequate dye and soda ash into the center of the fabric.

For folks, who don't mind a few more steps, I think the books mentioned above cover the subject of fabric dyeing much more extensively.
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Great for quilters 12 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound
The author introduces her technique of dyeing with little water. She provides everything a complete beginner needs: from materials, to tools, to step-by-step instructions. It's a great book if you dye small pieces or if you like the patterned effect her technique creates on larger pieces. If you want a uniform color on your clothes, however, her technique may not work. So, it's a wonderful book for quilters who want to create unique pieces but need not reproduce them exactly at a later point. In fact, the book cover itself shows beautifully the results of her technique.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A Recipe Book for Exciting Dyeing Techniques! 21 Jun. 2004
By Julie Benac - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound
If you have ever wanted a definitive resource on alternative dyeing technique using Procion dyes, this is it! Ann Johnston is the authority on dyeing with these fiber-reactive dyes, and here she gives the basis for the type of dyeing that is so popular today: low-water immersion dyeing. She teaches the method using many different recipes which are revolutionary; at least to me they were! Going through the recipes, the reader will learn how to apply these same techniques using other color combinations. Most unique was the layered-dyeing technique called "parfait", which yields three different-colored fabrics from the SAME dyepot. Incredible!

All in all, this was just the book I'd hoped it would be, and then some. I've been using it now for about four years, and not once have I been disappointed with the results of my fabrics. For those interested in regular vat dyeing and direct application techniques, she also give basic instructions and recipes for these, too.

This book will hook you into dyeing for good!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Resource for the Serious Dyer 7 Aug. 2006
By Barb C - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound
I have read and used many books for hand dyeing fabrics. Color By Accident by Ann Johnston is of extremely high quality. It is written much like a cookbook, with clear measures, clear directions and ample support for further creativity. This is not a tie-dyeing manual. It will help the ardent fabric dyer create wonderful materials usable for any type of sewing project. And it is an excellent introduction for those who have never tried this process and don't know where to begin. It is fully resourced, providing information on obtaining everything you will need to proceed.
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