Friday, June 19, 2015

Current dyeing adventures completed

After a frenzy of days of dyeing and running about with gallons of water and lugging heavy pots and picking and cleaning and rinsing and hanging up and all the fun that goes with dyeing from natural materials, I've come to a temporary place where I can stop and take stock of what I've learned.

This is the latest group: linen fabric for stitching in red cabbage dyebath, tshirt in onion dyebath, linen shirt in turmeric dyebath, and two shirts dipdyed in mixed berries.

And hanging to dry

I need much bigger containers for the dyeing, more room for the items to swirl and dye evenly, and I need a lot more plant material in proportion to the fabrics.  

The books I've consulted are a bit conservative on this issue, but I wonder if it relates to the sort of dye material they have access too -- it varies with climate and soils -- and the kind of water supply I'm dealing with.  

At any rate, to dye anything larger than a smallish piece of fabric for embroidery, or a small amount of thread, needs more elbow room, and it definitely needs a ton more vegetable and fruit material.

The red cabbage came out a lovely very pale blue (I added salt to the dyebath to be sure of blue) but was so pale I may dye it again with another lot of red cabbage, this time a bigger one with gnarly old, much darker, outer leaves. The color you see in the dyebaths is very deceptive, as you find when you dip out a spoonful and see how piano the color really is.

At this point I've discarded the dyebath contents from today, because the color is exhausted, I know how it feels, which means I'm doing something right.  

Quinn says she raises goats so we don't have to, and I guess I experiment with natural dyes so you don't have to -- you can get it right faster! It's a great summer art adventure, though, like papermaking, which also involves large amounts of water and running about, seems to be my preferred style.

A trip to the thriftie today did not yield anything in the way of big pots, nor possible linen items to dye, but on the way home a breakdown trucker pulled up beside me and offered to buy my car!  I wonder if he thought it would be a favor to get it off the road, or if he really wanted an ancient Honda Civic from the last century. He could have loaded it right on.


mittens said...

ahahah thats funny, Liz; I have one of those antique Y2K Hondas too, but no one has ever asked ME if I wanted to get rid of it...

ari_1965 said...

Is there a Mexican grocery in your area? Steamer pots for tamales are often 21 quarts - that's 4 gallons, right? The cheapest might be aluminum, no good for dyeing. But the next price levels up....

Also, would an enamel pot from the camping store work?

ari_1965 said...

Your colors are beautiful.

Could you make friends with someone at the farmers market and ask for skins and such? The produce guy at the co-op?

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I love the effect you're getting with the dip-dyeing. Gives a plain t-shirt a whole new lease on life.

margaret said...

you have certainly achieved a lot of changed articles with your dyeing, surprised that red cabbage produced blue. What cheek from the truck driver!!

Asha Francis said...

What lovely colours! I especially like the yellow shirt. Yummy! So happy to be privy to your adventures.