Monday, December 19, 2016

Yarn results, wet and dry

Here's the results of the yarn experiment, Coopworth dyed, as yarn, in approximately equal mix of yellow onionskin and beet/red cabbage dyed.  Here it is rinsed and still wet, and you see the golden color predominating.



And here it is dry, with a lovely green tinge appearing, making it look a bit like old gold.  About 50 yards here.  



I kept all the dye, and will use it for the last of the Coopworth which I plan to spin later today.  Amazing how fast I got through that, considering the Spanish merino has been around in my life for about six years and still some to go. But I have improved my skills a bit.

You can re use natural dyes until they are exhausted, or until you are, whichever comes first.  I like the idea of using two at once to see what comes of the blend, and plan to go on with this idea.

I was asked recently, thank you, Cynthia, for making me realize I had neglected to say anything about this, about dye fastness and does it apply here.

The natural dyes I've used, with or without mordant, but with proper prep of the fabric or dye, have been pretty fast, but being natural, they will fade somewhat in time and with washing.  

Some seem to be indestructible, such as black walnut.  And some fade only a little after many washings, such as turmeric.  And the spinach dye I used for tshirts is still a nice delicate pale green. The yellow onionskin likewise, still holds a tint, but a bit faded. This is after many washings. The red onionskin and red maple artwork faded quite a bit, but still looks good to my eye.

This fastness issue is the reason modern, aniline based and other, dyes came into popular use, but some of us still like the natural subtlety.  If you doubt fastness before washing, good to use a saltwater bath, by the way.  That often fixes the stray dye that has not been thoroughly rinsed out.  And it doesn't hurt anyway.

Fastness isn't usually a major concern of mine, since I'm often creating yarn for making artworks that will never be washed anyway.  All art needs to be protected from direct sunlight, as you know, and particularly fiber arts using natural dyes. So in case you own any, mine or other artists' please protect them, when you choose a wall for hanging them.

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