Thursday, March 7, 2013

Natural Dye Day

It's DYE (yes, D-Y-E, not DIE) Day! We have looked forward to this day for some time. Our last dye day was six and half years ago. All the planets aligned just right for this February dyeing day--perfect weather, perfect time to pull some great colors from the dye pots.  Since my days as education curator on Louisiana plantation, I have loved to do natural dyes.  The plantation had indigo has their cash crop so I did lots of indigo dyeing, but along the way we did other natural dyes-- with natural dyes, you have somewhat of an idea what color you will pull, but there are variables--water, temperature, dye matter content, amount of material placed in dye bath, etc.
Sharla is preparing her skeins.  We had plenty of information at our finger tips and skeins of yarn (protein and cellulose fiber content).  Most everyone had wetted out their yarns before they arrived, which made the process less time consuming.  The first decision the participants needed to make was--how many skeins did you want to be mordanted.  Some natural dyes do not need a Mordants.  For our mordant we are using alum.

Scharine has her pole wrapped silk scarf in the madder  bath. 

This pot had brazilwood, which does not require a mordant.  You can mordant, which will give you a different color

A closer look at Scharine's pole wrapped silk scarf.  She wrapped tightly and then scrunched the silk down.

Here is Lisa and Scharine working around the Cochineal bath.  This was a popular dye pot!  Lots of lovely colors coming from this one little insect bath.

Barbara is working with another one of the pots to keep the temps down, just simmering, no boiling

We had several yellows from these baths--goldenrod, peach leaves, Osage orange, onion skins.  This pot has a strong bath of onion skins.

Just some of the sampling of colors that we pulled from the pots.

Kyla was overdyeing some of her fabrics along with her yarn

yes, we had an indigo pot!!  never can do dyeing without an indigo pot--love the blues but some overdyeing will get you purples and greens

The clothes line was filled with gorgeous colors!

Love these greens--yellow overdyed with indigo. 

A better view of natural dyes floating in the breeze

Great blues--even on silk and cotton shirts.

Another dye bath


Annatto seeds gave us some great oranges and golden colors

Lichen if you've got the right one, you'll get some purples and lavender colors

Indigo on cotton cloth

We had sandalwood, logwood, henna as well

I liked this shot with cochineal dyed scarf to the right, along with other colors

Gerry had a super color arrangement for her tapestry weavings

Barbara pulled these soft shades of yellow from the peach leaves dye bath.  Barbara supplied us with the peach leaves in the fall, which I boiled up and saved the dye bath (freezer is a good source to keep)  Think the family is glad all those dye baths are out of the freezer!

Here's the gang (photo courtesy of Barbara) --Marian, Barbara, Sharla, Gerry, Scharine, Lisa, Kyla--great troopers when it came to natural dyeing

A rigid heddle loom even made an appearance!  We are off to a good start for 2013,  Everyone had such a good time--they want to have another dye day next year.  Can I show you my hands??  I can never wear gloves, so I have multi colored hands and finger nails--okay, guess there will be some dishwashing in my future!

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