Today I'm going to take you into the dye studio. Today is the perfect day because it's Wednesday and that means that I will be here all day. It's not a pretty place but it's really functional and I love every minute I spend here, even when I have to dye 90 yards of fabric. On a normal day it's 30 - 40 yards. I usually dye on Wendesday, rinse Thursday night then go through 2 12-hours soaks to remove all of the excess dye. I run all of the fabric through the wash Friday and spend the weekend ironing.
We'll start at the bottom of the stairs with this table. I bought this when I retired in May 2010 and I paid about $500 for it. That's a LOT for me to spend on a supply that isn't some sort of machine. It's a big table, it's very sturdy, the height is adjustable and it's on wheels and I don't regret buying it at all. I love it. I use it for cutting the white fabric prior to dyeing. I never actually work on it. I don't want there to be any chance of getting paint or dye on the white fabric. On Wednesday morning I come down and cut all of the fabric and put it in the appropriate bins. I can mark the fabric with a washable marker so I know which bins are for which jobs. I stack all of the bins here until I bring a bin over for dyeing. That is all that this table is used for. You can see it in action here.
To the right of the table is the dye area. Because I'm short you will see foot stools all over my house. At the back wall you can see the sink that I had installed in 2008. Almost everything in this space was either free or cheap.
The table with the red tablecloth is the only thing that I bought specifically for this space. It's a adjustable table from Costco and it's awesome. I have rubber floor mats and stand to do all of my dyeing.
Next to the cutting table are bolts of fabric ready to dye. I buy 1000 - 1500 meters at a time. A friend keeps me supplied with buckets for carrying wet fabric upstairs to the washing machine. I use the metal shelf for any fabric that can be dyed. There are open bolts, pre-cut pieces, ends (that I dye for my own stash) and some commercial black on white fabrics.
In front of the red table (across from the fabric stash) is a microwave that I use for soap making and the refrigerator where I store my dye powder and concentrates. I got both of these free!
Back on the other side of the room (next to the fabric stash) are 2 cabinets that I got in a sale at work. When the company went paperless there were tons of filing cabinets and shelf units left empty. They sold them to raise money for charity and I picked up several. The one on the left has screen printing supplies, stencils, paint brushes (I bought a case off eBay once) and t-shirts for when I need a quick dyed gift.
The cabinet on the right holds mostly soap making supplies along with batik supplies and a box of miscellaneous craft supplies. On top of the cabinets are napkins for dyeing, a box of lids that I use as disposable paint palettes and boxes of stamps.
To the right of the steel shelves is this metal unit. The box on the bottom left contains paper making supplies. The bins on top are things for sun printing and stamping. The rest are the containers that I use for dyeing. A lot of them are missing in the photo because they were in use. In the corner is a drying rack that I use for my gloves and the bits of screen fabric that I use to filter my dyes. The PVC poles are used for shibori.
Inside the work area (to the right of the sink) are more shelves that I salvaged from the living room when we moved in this house. All of my fabric paints are here and my dye tools (gloves, spoons, cups, etc). I bring my tablet downstairs and hook it up to the little stereo and listen to Pandora.
I have a space heater here because there's no heat in the basement. It never gets below about 58 but that's way to chilly for me. This works perfectly.
The bucket by the sink is my soda ash bucket. The bag hanging on the wall contains my respirator. I never mix dye powder without it. In this photo you can see the rubber puzzle mat that I have in the area. It really makes it easier to spend 5 - 6 hours standing down here.
On the other side of this wall is Willie's room (the longarm). There are shelves on that side of the stud wall too. I have 2 old drawers (from the disassembled TV cabinet) on those shelves and I keep some of my plastic bottles and plastic plates (for paint palettes) in these drawers.
I even use the drain pipe for storage! These are my extra bottles for dye concentrates. I only use 11 colors and I have 2 bottles assigned to each color. The empties stay here until I need them.
Tomorrow we will go next door to see Willie's Room.