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Eco Printing

Eco Printing

Cathy  (Luvswool) and I had an Eco Printing day this summer.  I mordanted my fabrics before hand and picked some flowers and leaves from my garden and froze them to bring.

Elizabeth had kindly sent Cathy some Smokebush and Japanese Maple leaves.  Cathy generously shared some with me.  Thanks Elizabeth and Cathy!

I had brought some coreopsis, day lilies, lobelia, verbena, petunias and leaves from my neighbors tree.  I have no idea what kind, but they were red, not maple, and a little wavy.  Other than a few faint marks none of my stuff did much with the exception of the coreopsis.

Cathy also had some coreopsis, a little bigger in flower size, plum, geranium and rose leaves and pansy flowers.

Of course, time was at a premium and we were anxious to get started and forgot to take pics with the leaves and flowers before wrapping.  My bad.

My first experience with eco printing last year was a disaster.  So, I had a lot to learn and fortunately Cathy had everything ready when I got there.  So we got right to work laying out, dipping leaves in iron water and wrapping. We used copper pipes, bamboo mat and binders and clips.

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We had two pots going, one plain and one with  sweet gum seed water.  I had brought the seeds from California.

The light plum fabric below was Egyptian cotton from an old bed sheet. It’s too tightly woven to felt, but I wanted to try printing on it.  We also added a piece of handmade paper on the inside to print on both sides.20160719_130528

While still wet:

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Now dry:

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Here are both sides of the paper:

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I had brought a variety of fabrics — silk habotai, cotton broadcloth, cotton voile and cotton kona cloth.  This was the kona cloth while still wet.

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Here are both sides and a couple of closeups:

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After drying you can clearly see the string marks and the bamboo mat marks.

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20161031_150421The silk piece came out nicely. Here it is wet:

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Then dry:

20161031_145914 20161031_145939 20161031_145950 20161031_150108I think the Japanese Maple, Smokebush, rose leaves, coreopsis flowers and leaves, plum leaves and geranium and pansies made the nicest prints.

The broadcloth didn’t fare as well except for the very ends.

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The cotton voile:

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Thanks Cathy for your guidance!  I’m pleased with the results.

Well, we’ve managed to hang on to summer for one more post.  Next time I hope to remember to take before pictures.  Now I have to figure out what to do with all this.  Any suggestions?

 

 

More Natural Dyeing with Cochineal

More Natural Dyeing with Cochineal

This is the last of my summer experiments with natural dyeing.  Cochineal are those little scale insects that are picked off of cacti.

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I’ve seen some really nice results using cochineal such as Nada’s experience she posted on the forum this summer.

As with my previous experiments, I used small amounts of silk habatoi, silk gauze, silk mulberry, wool yarn, and merino and corriedale rovings.  They were pre-mordanted.

The cochineal had to be ground.  I used a wooden mortar and pestle, then put them in a blender, then made it into a paste before adding boiling water.

The mixture was then left overnight before adding to the pot. (This was divided into three parts first to use with different modifiers.)

The first pot I used only cochineal.

20160625_155500The second I modified with cream of tartar.

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The last I added iron.

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After each batch was removed from the pot, I left it “cure” for two days.  Since I didn’t have both the a lot of room to spread them out I left them bunched up hence the lines. They also dried much lighter as you’ll see.

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This was cochineal with cream of tartar.  You can see the little bits of bugs on them.20160628_112634Once they were cured, I rinsed them out and hung them to dry.

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Cochineal only.

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With cream of tartar modifier. A nice bright pink.

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With the iron modifier.

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While the results were not exactly what I expected, I believe because the bugs weren’t finely ground I got lighter colors.  I may over dye the first batch when I find an electric grinder.  If I had to order cochineal again, I’d look for powder.

Have you done any natural dyeing lately?

 

 

 

Playing with Natural Dyes Part 2

Playing with Natural Dyes Part 2

I’ve been trying out different natural dyes using similar materials.  This time I tried alkanet roots and logwood with and without iron.

Here are the alkanet roots before preparation which took two days to get ready to use.

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The logwood also had to be prepared ahead of time.

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Again, I used mordanted corriedale and merino roving, mulberry silk, wool yarn, silk habotai and silk gauze as I did in my previous post  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2016/06/28/playing-with-natural-dyes-part-1/

According to some of the charts I saw on the colors to expect from the alkanet roots, it could be anything from gray to deep purple.  I had also read it was possible for blues or even red.  As you can see from the pot, there was a light purple tinge to the water. The dye liquor was definitely dark purple but then it was diluted with the water.

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The result was a silver gray.  For all the experiments I leave the pot to cool overnight to get the most color.  This was a lot less than i expected, but its a pretty color.

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The next step was to add iron to the pot with another set of materials.

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The top picture is wet, the bottom is dry.  So, I now have silver and gold colors.

Next was the logwood. From all the pictures I’d seen and roving Cathy had dyed in Arkansas I thought I would get some type of purple.  It looked pale in the pot.

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So, I was surprised when it dried and it was more of a taupe color. But surprises are half the fun!  Then I added iron and did another batch.

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The darker ones on the bottom are with the iron and its more of a charcoal color.

Again, these are all experiments and results can vary depending on water, temperature, etc.  While I had a little different expectations, I’m not unhappy with the results.  I can always overdye.

What have your experiences with natural dyeing been?

 

 

Playing with Natural Dyes Part 1

Playing with Natural Dyes Part 1

With summer finally here in the US, it’s wonderful to see color in the yard and all around.  I recently had lunch with Cathy (Luvswool) and she showed me some of the prints and natural dyeing she’s been doing with lately. She’s been devoting most of her time natural dyeing and got me interested in trying it.  You can find her dye blog here https://naturedye.wordpress.com/

So, with her guidance I took the plunge and began experimenting. I ordered some dyes online from the Woolery and Dharma Trading.  My first try was with Osage Orange.  What I didn’t realize was that the item I ordered was Osage Sawdust so I had an extra couple of steps to get the dye liquor prepared for the bath.

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For each dye experiment I used a small amount of silk gauze, silk habotai, silk mulberry, wool yarn, merino and corriedale roving.

I could have used a copper penny to make a brighter color, but I was happy with the results. The top pic is while wet, the bottom two are after drying.  Its actually more light yellow than coffee color. You’ll see two small pieces of felt I threw into the pot without mordanting at the bottom.  They did take the color.

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20160627_150117The next dye I tried was madder root.  I had recently used up some of the madder roving Cathy had given me from her Arkansas residency last year in my coral piece.  So I was anxious to see if I could get the same color.

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Again, I didn’t order powder, but actual roots, so there were extra steps involved to  get to the bath.

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While wet:

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After using the madder alone, I divided the fibers in half and used iron in a separate bath.

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Here they are dry:

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Its interesting the mulberry silk on the right with the iron did not get dark.20160623_120335

With each other, without iron on top, with iron on the bottom.

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Subtle differences, but not the same color that Cathy got in Arkansas.  But then there are differences in water, temperature, etc. But I’m pleased with the results.

Thanks Cathy for helping me through the process.

 

Dyeing with Plants

Dyeing with Plants

Our guest artist today is Cathy Wycliff (Luvswool).  She shares her adventure into dyeing with plants.

Recently I went to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas for a two-week artists’ retreat. My plan was to spend two whole weeks felting with some time out for photographing the natural beauty of this area (think NW Arkansas, closer to Tulsa OK than Little Rock, AR. ) I also contemplated doing some natural plant dyeing, but it was the wrong season for collecting some of the natural plant materials in the area, such as oak galls and walnut hulls. I ended up ordering some botanical material from The Woolery, which amazingly arrived two days later!

While awaiting delivery, I got going with natural pine needles from the huge pine tree growing in the backyard. I snipped about two dozen clusters and began boiling them, later adding the white wool (domestic 56’s). The ending color did not jump out and grab me, but still I was pleased with the natural beige color which the pine needles produced–and a bonus was that the smell was heavenly.

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Once my dyes arrived, I got to work rinsing and mordanting the wool (all of the wool I used was domestic 56’s from RH LINDSEY.) I began with madder, but this was quite a lengthy process of soaking the wool for over an hour, then mordanting the wool by cooking the alum and cream of tartar. Later when everything had cooled down, I then added the madder and wool.

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Each dye I used required this lengthy process, and unfortunately, I had only one usable pot. After the first wool was dyed in madder, I changed the composition by adding iron, which developed a deeper color of red/orange.

I continued with the logwood as above, also developing a second shade of purple by adding iron.

IMG_0522Overnight drying time was needed, and here you can see the pine, madder and logwood drying in the kitchen.

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I continued with osage, which achieved a golden color, not orange as is sometimes possible.

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Next you see the osage and deeper shade of logwood drying.

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Although I have done other kinds of dyeing previously–including indigo, food colors, acid dyes and even beets–natural plant dyeing is a whole new level of dyeing. I began thinking about the Native Americans and their use of natural plant dyes, as well as other very early ethnic groups around the world who had no other choices. And they didn’t even have gas stoves!

I was pleased with all of the results, which you can see here:

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Left front –pine needles; Left rear  — osage; middle two shades purple  (+ iron), Middle rear — osage, Right —  two shades madder (+ iron); Right front —  cutch

I am looking forward to additional dyeing this summer, and perhaps even growing some of my own dye plants.

Thanks Cathy!

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