Naturals and Dyes

Naturals and Dyes

I laid this wall hanging out about a week or so before I got time to felt it, and I think it ended up being ‘upside down’. I wrote down the wools and fibres I used as I laid it out, but I think I forgot a few! Also, I added a few locks to the bottom just before I felted it, but I’m certain that was originally the top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI added some pieces of hand-spun yarn I’d made mostly from bits left over from carding, I spun them quite thickly, and didn’t do anything with them after wards, just wound them onto card. This one is on the row of white Chubut, a ‘new’ to me wool I got from wollknoll, which felts so nicely and looks really nice too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are some cotton fibres: cotton top, cotton fibre and cotton nepps on carded Portuguese Merino, with some soy staple and carded Gotland.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been dyeing some cellulose fibres recently too for taking to the Makefest at the Science and Industry Museum. I’m getting the hang of it now, but I don’t think my first lot of fibres turned out as nice as I’d like. I did some Viscose fibre recently, and this turned out really nice. These are some of the reds, oranges and yellows:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd some yellows, greens, blues and purples:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t like the way dyeing cellulose fibres wastes so much water with the rinsing, but it is easier for me to do large amounts than it is with acid dyes, not that I had much choice, even mixing up just 500ml each of red, yellow, blue and black was more than enough to dye about 200g of fibre and I had to look for other things to dye so as not to waste it ๐Ÿ™‚ I tried dyeing Kapok fibre too, that stuff is practically impossible to wet, it seems to form a ‘skin’ around itself, so dyeing gave some interesting results as it behaved the same way, and when the fibre was separated, the centre wasn’t dyed. This is some rose and lilac coloured kapok:


19 thoughts on “Naturals and Dyes

  1. You have achieved some interesting colors from dyeing the viscose. If not acid dyes, what kind did you use? The wall-hanging is so richly textured, and as you know, for me, the neutrals rule~!

    1. Thanks, Cathy ๐Ÿ™‚
      I used the Procion MX dyes. Once it’s all mixed with the water, salt and washing soda, you just leave the fibre or fabric to soak. Yeah, the natural shades are always my favourites too ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Such pretty colours on the viscose, Zed. How did you make the brown, if you don’t mind my asking?

    The wall hanging looks really nice too, I like the natural look of it. Did your Portuguese Merino also prove to have lots of little noils? Mine has quite the short staple length…

    Is Kapok a sheep? Any theories on how it doesn’t get wet easily?

    1. Thanks, Leonor ๐Ÿ™‚
      This probably sounds daft, but which one looks brown to you? Part of the yellowy one in the second viscose photo? I tried to make a few greenish and brownish, mossy or metallic shades so if it’s that one, then it was probably yellow, with a drip each of black and red, though the red did have a few drops of black in to start with as it was a bit ‘weak’ looking. I can’t remember about the Merino, probably, some of them seemed a lot like the Finnish noil I got from Wow. I might have used the fleece that I drum carded myself though. Kapok is a fibre like cotton, from the seed boll.

    2. Not daft at all, our eyes all work differently! I meant the top left one in the photo with the reds, which looks darkest to me – probably not brown in the classical sense, if you know what I mean? But the brownest of them to me ๐Ÿ™‚ It also doesn’t look anything like I thought viscose would.
      Thanks for the instructions, I’ll have to try and make some myself!

      If Kapok is like cotton, it’s really hard to get wet. I remember my experiences with cotton last year, what a nightmare to get them to soak up the h2O!

  3. I love, love, love the wall hanging. Great textures. Your handspun yarns are lovely:)
    Looks like a successful dyeing venture too..
    I have an aversion to kapok for no other reason than the mess it makes falling off the trees. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks, Judith ๐Ÿ™‚
      I can imagine the mess the kapok would make!

  4. The wall hanging is spectacular! What a wonderful mix of natural colors and textures. And the dyeing looks like you achieved some really nice colors. But yes, procions do take a lot of rinsing.

    1. Thanks, Ruth ๐Ÿ™‚
      Yeah it took a while to get some subtle colour variation, though I like the proper multi coloured ones I did like green, blue and purple together.

  5. The textures in the wall hanging are awesome. I love it! I’m glad you mentioned the kapok and wetting. I haven’t used mine yet. I love the cellulose colors, too. Great job.

    1. Thanks, Marilyn ๐Ÿ™‚
      I think next time, I’ll try smaller amounts of kapok at a time, though it does get unique results because of how it acts ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Great wall hanging Zed. Did you try adding a little soap to the water for soaking the kapok, it might help it get wet. I find MX take less rinsing than acid dye. I think it’s the different water. My water is very hard.

    1. Thanks, Ann ๐Ÿ™‚
      Yeah, I tried the soap, it still did the same thing, it was really odd, all this soft fluffy stuff just formed itself into a large ‘cushion’, I’d break it open and it was all fluffy and dry. I contacted an outdoor clothing company because I thought it would be something they were interested in, I expected to get the brush off, but they were really interested and their product buyer looked it up said they’d look out for it at buyers fairs.
      It must be different water because my acid dyes have no excess, not even the red which most people have trouble with.

  7. The wall hanging is spectacular! Love the fringey bottom.

    You’ve got some very pretty colours from your efforts with the dye.

    1. Thanks, Lyn ๐Ÿ™‚
      yeah, I can almost forgive how much faffing around and mess it makes when I see the nice pile of coloured fibres!

  8. I love the colouring and the fabulous texture you have created with your wall hanging. It would be nice to know the approximate size of it.

  9. Kapok contains lignin,waxy and hemicellulose which make it impossible to dye, did u try any method to reduce the amount of lignin and waxy before dyeing enabling it to absorb the dye?

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