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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.

 

Scarflette with Locks

Scarflette with Locks

I was inspired by Nada’s scarflette a while back and thought it would be a perfect way to use some of the locks I received from Zara.

I dyed some Merino, Corriedale, Romney and Cheviot wool along with some silk habatoi and silk mulberry using Silver Gray acid dye. Then made some batts with the wool and silk.

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I pre-washed some of the locks using Zara’s method posted on the forum using netting and soaking.  I wasn’t sure what color I would use, but chose dark gray Gotland locks.

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It was a simple scarf  layout, but not a simple process.  I had never used locks, so I wasn’t sure how to space the locks. I anticipated a 30% shrinkage.  I needle felted the locks between two layers of batts using similar sizes and shapes. I also wanted a silk nuno close to the skin. I wet down the batts then added the silk on the back then proceeded with felting being very careful not to let the locks migrate or felt.  I worked slow and was attentive to the locks.

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What I didn’t expect was that not all the silk would get nuno felted.  I even added some fiber at the beginning of the process to those areas. No deal.  I worked diligently on those areas, but no change.

I was ready to throw it in the lost pile.  The locks were fuzzy, some of the silk wasn’t felted.  I left it for a couple of days and decided I’d make it work.  I knew it was fruitless to try to continue to felt.  The felt was solid. I originally had the design drape to one side and was going to cut the ends at an angle, but I folded over the nuno side to create a collar and liked that better.  The silk was a bit larger so I just let it ruffle over the edges.

20160125_111715I had to do some stitching to hold the silk on  in places.  But its pretty much invisible.

20160125_11140320160125_111425Originally, I envisioned a cool button on the front, but ended up with a snap on the inside. The button I had purchased would be hidden by the overlap.

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I wetted the wild locks and used a little leave in conditioner on them.  Not perfect, but my husband walked by while it was sitting on the counter and remarked on how beautiful it was.  (I never mentioned what I was working on or my disappointment. So, I guess it wasn’t a failure.)

I need to work on my locks skills.  I have no idea what happened to the nuno especially since my ginkgo piece turned out so well. Or why the locks turned fuzzy.

Any ideas?

 

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