Thursday, January 27, 2011

Step 2: Dye

Update on how the fabric dyeing is going...
1st run- bag o' onion skins. 

The recipe:
Well Water
Stainless steel pot to boil and enameled to treat
 A decent amount of onion skins. You might read you need 2 lbs, but do you realize how light onion skins are? I defiantly did not have 2lbs worth, so I just suggest going to the grocery store and picking up as many as you can and have people save them for you and you'll be fine. 
Rinse with vinegar

Fun onion fact: did you know that if you peel an onion naked, it's okay because the outer layer will just dry out and create itself a new crunchy skin? Yep.

Anyways, onion skins make for a beautiful golden color. If fact thus far, this has been my happiest turnout yet! 

Later we added a little bit of sassafras, it also dyes yellow.
Wrap it up in some cheese cloth, or old panty hoes, and let it simmer for about an hour or until you see a concentrate you like. Remember, you should always go darker because it will dilute probably more than half, in most cases, once you dump it into your big pot.
This was an off white seersucker with a small tan check. I used alum as a mordant and we probably let this simmer for a little over an hour. 
Ok, this is two Ziploc bags of frozen beet juice and one can of cherries. 

It didn't work. In fact I think my fabric came out even whiter than what it went in as after we rinsed! I should clarify. I used two fabrics in here

-long underwear, cotton. No mordant
-Soy Organic Cotton Jersey. Now, how this fabric has a stretch and is organic is beyond me. But I'm just going with what it says. None the less the synthetic in it is probably what caused the color to not take. It might have turned it a shade gray from is neutral color. 

As for the cotton (the one that came back brighter) I would imagine that it has been bleached before and chemically treated. 

Didn't even look nice so I decided not to even put fabric in it.
However, I did a test piece and it confirmed my decision. This is just some muslin that does not have a mordant, but I would image pretreated fabric wouldn't have done much more. It kinda stunk too. 
Alright so this is the jersey I said possibly went a shade gray from the beet juice and cherries. Well I tried for red again and ended up with purple. 

This Recipe:
city tap water
stainless steel pot to boil and enameled to treat
dyed in cherries and beet juice
rinse with vinegar
2 bags of blackberries, 1 bag blue berries
rinse with vinegar again

I got really, really excited when I saw the blackberries boiling. It was the most beautiful red and I dipped a test piece of the jersey in it and it was so red! I was so excited, but once I diluted it, it was barely pink, So I added blueberries, because they were giving me a reddish purple, and I ended up with a light lavender. I love lavender, but I didn't need it.. looks like I'll be adding the color to the collection.

Finished fabrics so far. The one in the middle is a twill I had in the same bath as the lavender, it has been mordanted with alum but was not an organic fabric so it probably had some chemical treatment prior. 

Since I was found out, twice, how hard red is, I just went ahead and ordered some madder root. Should have it by Friday. I am a little discouraged that I'm not going to be able to achieve green or gray. It's rough trying to do this in the winter with no flowers, roots, or leaves to work with. 

wait wait!
Ok I wrote all that last night, but today I found out my teacher has some Iris roots she's going to bring for me. So hopefully I can make a beautiful green with that! I'll let you know later this week! 
hmm.. trying to decide if I should dye over this lavender once I receive the madder root. It's a beautiful color, but I really don't need it. I do have an extra 2 1/2 yards, but I would like to save just in case I have a cutting error in the future. 

Lots to do!

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