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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.

https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2016/06/04/under-water-again/

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.

 

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