Sunday, April 17, 2016

Eco dyeing, or what I did while I was waiting for parts to arrive

So yesterday I picked up the pvc pieces for the embroidery frame, but found that two items, the three way connectors and the clamps, were not available locally.  

So I sent away for them, and did all the cutting in the meantime and assembled the parts I can, except that the long piece needs to be cut into two parts, once I determine the exact height needed to raise the frame up to be a floor standing frame.  If you have downloaded the pdf of instructions, you'll see a place where you use two inch pieces to create the table top model. That's where I'm putting in much longer pieces, to raise it up as a floor standing frame. So here's where that project is:

It will be only a couple of minutes' work once the parts arrive, the three way and the clamps, then I'll show it.  Such a cool idea.

Soooo this left me Saturday evening, my Donna Leon current reading done, casting about for what to do...and I noticed a blog about eco dyeing, and thought, oh look, a bird..

This is not the kind I did last year where I extracted the dyes from plants then used them to dye fabric.  This is the other one, where you wrap actual plant material, tie and steam it.  Better if you have tin cans or metal pipes to wrap the fabric around, but I don't use much in the way of canned goods, and my pipe bits are pvc,  so I had to improvise. And rusty items, and I could only find one or two of these, rust not evidently being an issue around here. You need the rusty stuff, since the iron offshoot is a good mordant

So, it being late on Saturday night, and even I draw the line at foraging in the pitch dark, I went with indoor houseplant and veg material

Boston fern, begonia leaves, sanseveria and a handful of onionskins.  I soaked three fabric pieces, one linen, two silk, in a solution of one to four white vinegar to water, wrung it out,  then arranged plant material on the wet fabric, folded it over, 

then rolled and wrapped it tightly, using string. 

Then steamed it for two hours.  Then I left it overnight, and unwrapped it this morning 

and pressed the wet fabric to see what it had wrought.

One of the scarves had some silk dye already, but one was plain white, and the linen piece had pale turmeric dyes on it already.  So this also compared overdyeing with original dyeing.  And found it was all pretty much fun.  Once the frame is done, I can mount the linen square on it for stitching purposes.  Once the parts have will all converge at some point.


  1. Never a dull moment chez Boud! :)

  2. like you I use the plastic frames but do not have a table version just hand held. Your dyeing has worked very well too

  3. Very pretty and interesting dyeing results.

  4. THIS I could do!! I might just have a go at some point - must stealthily steal plant materials from the wild though. Should I end up in jail, send cake (saw included, please).


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