Saturday, 25 July 2009
Love dyeing pink
As you know we've been working on various jobs in the cottage and one of the things we recently achieved was to rewire and fit a new electric switch that acts as a stopcock and turns the water off in our little utility room. It had to be done because the original stopcock was behind two appliances that wouldn't be easy to pull out in an emergency. It also had to be done before I could have a new worktop fitted that matches my kitchen worktops. These jobs are both done and I now have a "posh" new space for drying my textile bits, painted fabrics, paintings, wet felt and (most recently) spreading out my jars and pots of natural dyeing experiments because I've got my priorities right ;o)
Now, I haven't done any natural dyeing for a very long time but I've been "thinking" about it for ages. Quite recently, Cathy started posting her extensive experiences with natural plant dyes in her "Dye Studio Tuesday" series and it rekindled my interest and gave me a bit of a push to start, so I've been playing ...
The first dye I tried was beetroot because I just happened to have some!
I've got various pieces of pre-embroidered cotton, lace, ribbon, threads and silk cocoons soaking in the beetroot dye. I left them soaking for a couple of days
After rinsing thoroughly, the pieces were a nice faded vintage looking pink except for the silk cocoons which held a much richer darker pink colour. The piece at the bottom is kitchen paper soaked in beetroot. I left it drying over my old brass kitchen tap and it made some great patterns
The next batch of samples were dyed with an acid dye - Carmoisine - found in red food colouring. I used a quarter of a bottle of Dr. Oetker's red food colouring in half a saucepan of boiling water. I added my fabrics (mostly natural fibres, cotton, wool, silk, etc.) to the saucepan and simmered for about 15 minutes. Carmoisine is also suitable for dyeing synthetic fibres and fabrics
Health Warning - There is a health risk associated with Carmoisine (E122) and, if eaten, can have dangerous side effects for people who are asthmatic or allergic to aspirin. I read that it is banned in USA, Sweden, Norway and Austria
I left the fabrics and threads to cool down and then stored in a jar for a couple of days
These are the fabrics rinsed thoroughly
The fabrics came out various shades of a very pretty tone of pink. A piece of dupion silk was the only piece to retain a very deep carmine red. I'm really pleased with these samples
Madder can be used with or without a mordant to produce a range of reds through oranges and pinks. I added just enough water to cover the madder roots and simmered for only a few minutes
The madder looks really rich in the pan and left lovely coloured stains
Here I've got a range of unmordanted natural fabrics and fibres soaking in the madder
I left the jar to ferment for a few days. The dye developed into this pretty pinky orange colour ...
From the same dye pot shades of mauve, pink, pale cinnamon and dark orange were reached
Some of the yarn and the dupion silk gave a rich orange which deepened even more to a dark carrot orange colour when I ironed it. The yarn at the bottom is a synthetic yarn which turned a lovely pinky/mauve colour
Red Onion Skins
Next I tried red onion skins
The dye came quickly. At first, it was a very dark red ...
... quickly followed by a very nice rich dark earthy brown
After a couple more days the dye darkened to an even deeper brown
The fabrics and fibres I had soaking in the red onion dye mostly came out a really nice tone of earthy brown which I like very much
I read somewhere on the internet that red onion skins produce a forest green dye and, interestingly, I did get this colour on a piece of absorbent kitchen roll and a piece of cotton fabric (in the same dye at the same time) but the rest all turned brown
Other natural dyes that produce REDS are Brazilwood, Cochineal (a red dye that comes from insects found on cactus plants), Safflower, Ladies' Bedstraw, Dyers' Woodruff and St. John's Wort. St. John's Wort can produce some lovely orangey reds (Cathy managed to get a nice cinnamon orange colour from St. John's Wort). I tried it, but my samples were not vibrant
Here I've shown my experiments with red tones, but I've also been experimenting with other natural dyes (green, yellow, orange, brown and purple) and will show these in the next few days on my textile blog
Later today I will be doing a little tutorial on my textile blog - Mixed Media Textile Art
Have a lovely weekend ♥