I'm Dreaming of a Tie-Dyed Christmas...Complete with a Fun Holiday Give Away!!

This past week, I was a busy lil' elf working to brighten the holidays with some homemade, tie dyed gifts for family & friends (and a fun Give Away!!--details below).

Santa's lil helper's workshop!!
I was determined not to repeat October's dud results where everyone left with pastel colored fabrics & socks.  Last summer, a friend and I
dyed two 12-step gradations using  Frieda Anderson's "Fabric to Dye For" book and we got some amazing results.  So I refreshed myself on Frieda's process and formulas, and went to work soaking all the fabrics, clothing & accessories in the soda ash fixative the night before.  The next morning, I pulled out my blender used exclusively for dyeing, my notes and set out to make a quart each of red, yellow and blue, magenta, lemon and turquoise dye, along with a little bit of black dye.  Once the dyes were mixed, I went to town adding splashes of color to all the holiday gifts on my list.  Four hours later, I had finished adding color to the last few dyed goods, and the clean up process was almost complete.  The only evidence to be found was concealed in the laundry room, where a large assortment of plastic containers were full of dyed goods undergoing the batching process.

As usual, I woke up super early the next day to began the washout/clean up process:  removing rubberbands, squeezing out excess dye, rinsing the fabrics, and cleaning all the containers.  Given the large volume of items dyed, these repetitive movements really started to take a toll on my back.  But any pain or discomfort was soon forgotten once I started pulling the gorgeous fabrics out of the dryer!!

Santa Claus is still out delivering many of the gifts to all the good boys & girls on my list, so I don't want to ruin any surprises...but I can show you some of the items I dyed for myself (as I have been a very good girl this year!!)

First up..some rainbow burst fabrics (all fat quarter sized).  I squished the pre-soaked fabrics accordion style into a plastic tray and simply poured the dye on in color bands:  red, yellow and turquoise.  Then I would squirt yellow and turquoise on at the same time to get green, red/yellow for orange and red/blue for violet.  I love the colorful bursts!!
Bright Color Bursts:  Magenta, Lemon & Turquoise
Warm Color Bursts:  Chinese Red, Bright Yellow & Cerulean Blue
For this piece, I used the iron to pleat the fabric, which I then used some rubber bands to section off and fold into half.  I squirted the three bright primaries and blended as needed.  I really love this piece and can't wait to work it into a future project!!
Pleated Rainbow


I wanted to experiment more with created some dyed mandalas and prepared some 22" squares and 44" squares.  I am so pleased with the results and may try to create some wholecloth quilts with some complementary free motion quilted designs!!
22" Mandalas
44" Mandalas and Rainbow Bursts
 Many of my holiday gifts were hand dyed clothing and accessories to brighten the wardrobe of family/friends.  But I figured my wardrobe could benefit from some tie dyed color and treated myself to a new draped tank top and jacket.
For Yours Truly...
If you find yourself drooling over all these gorgeous hand dyed beauties...then boy do I have a treat for you:  My first fabric give away!!!!!  
Fabric Give Away!!!
Yes my friends, here is your chance to win two rainbow burst fat quarters (one each from the bright and warm color burst series), along with a mystery surprise!!

This drawing is open to all US residents and will stay open until 12 noon (PST) on December 31st, at which time I will pick a winner using Random Generator and I will email the lucky winner by January 1st.  12/31 Update:  Giveaway is CLOSED.  Congratulations to Pauline for having her # randomly selected!!  I will be mailing out her hand dyed goodies in the next day or two!!

To be entered, simply leave a comment below and share one new quilt-related skill, technique or challenge you tried this year!!


  1. Hi Mel! What beautiful fabrics! Just this month, I have learned to use the tri rec tools to make tri rec units for Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Mystery Quilt. It was rather challenging to try to figure out how to prevent the rulers from slipping (Nexcare tape on the underside). Thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing for those beautiful fabrics!

    1. Thanks for sharing Pauline!! I just learned about that Nexcare tape trick...we quilters sure are resourceful. I think more and more of my quilting notions are purchased from non-quilting stores (drug, hardware and grocery stores!!)

    2. 12/31 Update: Congratulations Pauline--you won the hand dyed treasures!!! I will be reaching out to make sure I have your address on file and mail out your goodies!!

  2. I love your hand dyes, Mel! Those Mandalas are a wonder! I've tried making them with less stellar results. This year, I worked in Sandra Bruce's technique and am making two of the same landscape, one for the photographer and one for myself.

    1. Awwww...thank you Joni. I was super excited when I opened up the mandalas...I can't wait to use them in a future project! And I can't wait to see your matrix landscapes...I am sure they will be stunning!!

  3. Hi Mel. Love love love your hand dyed fabrics. I have been playing with dying fabric also and loving it. I have played with Susan Purney Marks dying techniques as well as Candied Fabrics. I love both processes. Ice dying was also included in my toolbox. You are very inspirational!

    1. Thanks Barbara...I've seen some of the lovely gems you've dyed!! I am hoping to try ice dyeing in the upcoming year!

  4. Hi Mel, Thank you for sharing your wonderful dyed fabrics. They are gorgeous - especially the mandalas! I tried dyeing for the first time this past February in a class with Cindy Lohbeck. I would love to whole cloth quilt one of them if I can learn to keep my fingers out of the way!

    1. Thanks Roberta...Dyeing fabric is so much fun!! I was really excited about the mandalas and plan on dyeing more in future dye sessions!! Oh the possibilities!!


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