Monday, May 30, 2011

dye job...

cedar package

hope it was a good weekend for you (and for those in the states, still continuing into today i suppose). the weather was much nicer than expected and i spent a fair bit of time outside. the sun also helped make the dye jars happy. i've been playing around with some natural dyeing this past week, and i've discovered once you start, it is very addictive. suddenly i've got a different view on every plant, contemplating the colour possibilities.


i think i mentioned, but can't find it now, that i bundled up some cotton (at top) and stuffed it in under the strips of cedar soaking in a rubbermaid tub, from my cedar weaving experiments. this was completely on a whim, no mordant, no heat, no nothing, just me noticing how dark and rosy the cedar water turned and wondering what it would do to fabric. i let it sit there for about six days before pulling it out. i ended up with an interesting tie-dye, and maybe i wrapped it too tight since there was lots of white left, but still liked out it turned out. i may try something else in the cedar, with some further prep.

solar dyeing first try

i'm enjoying playing around with solar dyeing. first up i had some purple cabbage that well, please don't laugh, has been sitting in my fridge since A made corned beef and cabbage on st. patrick's day. yeah. amazing how well it had stood up, actually, but it was definitely time to find a better use for it. i mordanted my fabrics with alum, for this first try a mix of wool, silk, cotton, linen and a cotton/poly blend, and then let them sit in the dye jar for several days.

purple cabbage

the results turned out quite well, don't you think? the colour is definitely stronger on the animal fibres, as i didn't really mordant properly for the vegetable ones, but in the end it's all an experiment and i'm pretty happy with the light purples too, so no complaints.

a bit of this and that

i also did some wool and silk in with some dandelion leaves. my initial thought had been to use the flowers, until i realized i'd recently mowed them down and any stragglers were now puffs of white. but the leaves provided a very pleasing pale greenish-yellow. i don't know that it shows too well in the photo, but it's almost a soft gold. behind the fabrics you can see a jar with attempt #3 - dyeing with leopard's bane. i don't know if this flower works well for dyeing, but i have lots of it my yard, so we'll see what happens.


things i'm liking this morning:
• Annie's eagle
• Margie's purple haze


sula said...

I have been hoping you would be doing some natural dying! Not only is the process a perfect fit for your stitching and photography talents, but it somehow matches the measured pace of your writing that I so thoroughly enjoy. Take a little bit of wonder, add a little bit of "I wonder if," and marinate.

(See, look at that. You are even inspiring me to be a bit fanciful!)

Margie Oomen said...

your first experiments are definitely a success
love the colors you have obtained

Mandi said...

Wonderful. I am beginning to do some natural dying. I am going to try calendula and marigolds for my first attempts. Your look great and I love the cedar braid. very cool.

Lovely World said...

Everyone seems to be dying fabric lately! I love seeing the results. I just threw away the remnants of an old purple cabbage - look what you did with yours!

Tara said...

k, these are so pretty. I love, love, love the purple. yes, I really do like it that much.