Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Dye Days

These past few days have been dyeing days. First was a class at a local guild where I taught a class on Natural Dyeing. We used Madder, Indigo and Osage Orange for some beautiful colours. The wool was one I'd not used before and it sucked up the dye pigment like no tomorrow, leaving skeins with quite an amazing depth of colour.
Sunday was a dye day up at Earendel Farm. We were working with bog willow and were supposed to dye over an open fire. Unfortunately the wind was outrageous and we ended up dyeing on the stove. We were dyeing linen. The willow was a very light green colour. It was a pretty green although very, very pale. We were going for yellow as we had one yellow request and the rest were going to be overdyed with indigo. With the very pale green, we decided that it was going to be too much effort to get enough colour to make the dye vat really worthwhile and then it would still not give us what we wanted. By then, it was too late to do the indigo 'cause the stove is just a little bit cranky.
However, my friend wanted a "purple" veil. This was fine as I wanted a bubblegum pink one and at least with wool, I'd obtained both of these colours with madder by pushing the ph to become very alkaline.
Today I did a madder vat. Well, the madder went red.. very, red. I added a tone of baking soda and it finally shifted colour to purplish. I put in a sample and it came out deep red. I added a bit more baking soda and the dye vat was definately purple coloured. Even any bubbles made were purple. I stuck in a cap of naturally coloured linen to test it. It came out red, red, red. It hardly faded or bled out at all when I washed it afterwards. After a bit more baking soda the next two colours were obtained. The bright pink one was almost fuschia when I washed it out and the pale pinky/red one was deep red when it got washed.. Interesting experiment for certain. The linen for "Odette's" veil was quite white while Tang's was just a tad yellowy once it got washed and mordanted. As well, Tang's veil rustles differently in a way which makes me wonder if it has a finish on it or could be a blend of fibres.

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