on fire in the Dye Dungeon

These are the results of my boiled water madder pot. (Note: the water was boiled first, cooled to proper temp, then madder added. Madder does not do well over 180Β°F/82Β°C) I’ve never had such deep reds on silk before, but it *might* be because of the rayon blended in. I don’t honestly know if boiling the water made any difference, except for the removal of chlorine, however i’m not going to complain!!!!!!!!!!!

First extraction/use gave me these:

The second was these:

The top one is mottled because it was on top, and because i didn’t add more (boiled) water, it didn’t have as free movement as it should have. Even so, i love the results, a wonderful mottling!

Linen from the second pot at the same time was a bit disappointing, but still good.

Cellulose fibres like cotton, linen, hemp, rayon etc don’t have as much uptake, but linen is the hardest (in my personal experience) to get deep colour on.

I’m doing a third use with cotton eyelet, but i can see already the pot has had most of its red component used, and has more brown tinge too. Kind of reminds me of an antique coral, so that’s okay too πŸ™‚

My dyeing week is almost over, and next week the plan is to get to some stitching again.

fire burn and cauldron bubble, a little commerce too

As i mentioned in a previous post, learning to work with the vagaries of water in natural dyeing is a prerequisite to knowing what colour you will end up with! (Although it can still be a wee bit unpredictable, but that’s for another time.) Honestly, it’s mind boggling that SO many things can influence this, from mineral content, Ph, hardness, enzymes and, if on “public water”, the additives used in city water treatment facilities. We never noticed the smell of bleach in our water at the old house, but sure as hell do here.

I checked with various water treatment companies and ascertained that boiling water for 20 minutes would off gas the chlorine MUCH faster than letting it sit overnight to dissipate and doesn’t need to be in a really wide mouthed container as off gassing would require. Bonus, several dye pots have now been boiled clean πŸ™‚ Adding ascorbic acid will also facilitate removing the chlorine, but i have none, and it does raise the acidity of the water (Ph), so not going there.

Of course, IF THE MAN WOULD REPLACE THE DAMN MEMBRANE IN THE REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER FILTER TANK, all of this would be a moot point because that’s part of its his its job……………………………………………………… βˆ‡

Now i have to wait for it to cool down, because i want to do madder today and the temp can’t be over 60C, and boiling water is obviously 100C. Between the steam from the pot, and the smell of rhubarb root being dried in the oven, it’s rather witchy in here right now. CACKLE.

HEY! I live in Calgary. It’s winter. Calgary in winter is cold. Calgary has temps right now of -24C. Well, duh, Captain Obvious, stick it outside on the snowed over patio.

‘kay, moving on.

Remember that weekly plan thing i was working from? It’s only been a week since i started it, but happy to say, it helped. I crossed off a few things as DONE, migrated some to next week (which i figured would happen anyways, as that’s the way lists go, period), and have a new plan for the 20th to 24th, which is slated for JUST STITCHING. As much as i love the dyeing, i also love the “making from” part, or what’s the point?

So, here are this week’s Velvetarian’s Delight(s). These are packs of 3 colours, and each pack is sold separately:

Above, 3 packs available. Below, 1 pack available.

Below, 1 pack available, BUT i love this combination so much myself, that i’m going to try to create more of these colours!

I am offering these packs in the shop now, and for less than they were before for the 3 pieces per pack. Unfortunately, my supplier sent me cloth from a different bolt (hey it happens, they run out), and these are thinner than previous, while some have flaws as well. They are still luscious, fun to fondle, in delicious colours, and actually the thinner quality makes them more malleable, more liquid and easier to manipulate. I do suggest however that they be interlined with a soft cotton of toning colour so that stitches and beading show better.

 

I have GOT to get some threads wound and prepped for dyeing as well–i’m coveting that lilac and the moss for my own use!

testing new waters

At the old house (and i mean where we lived before *and* the fact that the house was 100+ years), i knew what the water would do to my natural dyes. Turns out it’s a new ballgame in the new place, a totally different ballgame.

A. There’s a LOT of chlorine in our water in this location. We noticed the smell when we moved in, but stoopidly, i forgot that if i want to use it as hard water (’cause hard water is good for certain natural dyes like madder, weld, logwood and brazilwood, and we get hard water because our water is from the mountains) *and* there’s chlorine, you have to let the water sit for awhile so the chlorine off gases (dissipates). Didn’t have to do that at the old house.

Did you know that if you add ferrous sulphate to water with chlorine in it, that it turns the water PINK? Pretty, but the iron didn’t want to do what it was supposed to because the chlorine was being all busybody and getting in the way.

B. I use our filtered osmosis system for a lot of my dyeing. But it doesn’t work well, when apparently the tank membrane broke and is letting things into the tank, like iron and gawdzknows what else…..this also doesn’t work well for natural dyeing. There are a lot of minerals in our water too, but i’m not sure what else there is that isn’t supposed to be “is”…..

On the 14th and 15th i tested some of the Ugandan marigold my son brought back for me. I was shocked at the amount of green instead of yellow i got. My tannin was green as well, not a good sign, but a sure sign that there was a fair amount of what shouldn’t be in there, in there. I *did* get some pretty colours so that’s okay, but.

This means i now have to test all the dyes i work with, checking the new parameters and verifying my normal practices as still viable. It’s a good thing then that with the rhubarb root and quebracho rojo work i did last week i made lots of notes, and because of that, the marigold was documented as well! BUT it’s also weird that the RR and the QR gave me close to the results i was used to, even though i had used the (broken) filtered water.

Interestingly enough, in several natural dye groups, this was posted. I mean, i KNEW water affects the dyes, but wow, what a lesson in my own space.

So, i begin again.

warming the vortex

-40C wind chill today, risk of frostbite in 10 minutes. I ain’t goin’ nowhere this week!

The last week’s results, correctly in dye journal πŸ™‚

I think my soda ash tests needed a fresh mix as well–i adore that orange from the test above, not as apparent in the sample on the bottom of the page below!

Below, the two on the left are linen, quite disappointing! The linen i ordered before Christmas is crappy quality, stiff and feels cheap. I know linen is supposedly harder to dye because of the plant waxes and pectins, but the results were abysmal! I followed all my usual protocols so not sure what the difference was. *Usually* i find rhubarb, whether root or leaves, somewhat inhibits the uptakeΒ  of dyes……… For that reason, i never use the leaves anymore. I think it’s the oxalic acid, but also would suspect the roots have more than the leaves, so it’s a mystery!

A mystery because look at the quebracho rojo on the same linen! I was thrilled to see that once rinsed and dry, it was a definite pink, quite the surprise as usually qr is touted to give only pinky tans and browns on cellulose, and paler in range than protein fibres.

I have a different batch of linen from the same supplier that is supposedly the same thing, but the difference is amazing–full handed, thicker, FEELS like linen, so we’ll see what the results are on it.

And the rest of the qr tests:

It’sΒ  bit hard to photo these correctly: the velvets on the 2 top left are pinker than here, not as orange. (And OH do i love that lavender from the third extraction with an iron post mod!

I’m also testing Ugandan marigolds! My son brought me some when he came back last week (and YES it was all legal, above board and phyto-sanitarily correct, according to customs regulations! I wouldn’t dream of having anyone smuggle or mail un-regulated product to me!)

making it smell like Summer

I can’t pretend Spring is coming with the coming weekend supposed to be in the minus20’s(C), but i can smell Summer right now: I had a pot of rhubarb root simmering, an excellent dye the last time i used some. The fragrance lingers, even to the next day, and always reminds me of alder burning in the old wood stove on Bowen Island. This is a test of sorts too, as the first time was freshly dug and cut up, and this particular bag has been in my cache since October of 2015, so very dry. Some dyes just don’t do well dried! Checking the pot after an hour assured me though: there was LOTS of colour seeping out.

Silly me though! I forgot to weigh the bag and have no idea how much i used. I decided to start a separate note book for my silk work, as it’s a different kettle of canned worms than other fabrics, and the colours are amazing! And guess who didn’t take notes last year when she was doing all this? I mean, i know if i used quebracho rojo, or madder, or osage obviously, but what post mords or post mods did i use? What mixes of dyes did i use to get other colours? How many times did i use that bath? I didn’t even keep swatches!

Rhubarb root has more of an affinity for protein fibres though: all the trials i’ve done on cotton or linen gave at best, a pleasant warm toned pale yellow, and even post modifying doesn’t change much of that. (Except for iron which which pretty much *always” turn any natural dye to shades of charcoal!)

Here’s my array of tests, in order of post-modifier: copper, iron, soda ash and vinegar. (Unfortunately, i threw out the ammonia for some reason, so couldn’t try that…) Again, little change on the linen.

For some reason, there also seems to be little difference in the colour when overdyed with indigo, but my vat may be too strong still. This is the one time i wish for a weaker one! (In *my* experience, a weaker vat gives a better chance for the first colour to influence the outcome.)

So, did i lose you with that highly detailed ireallydon’tgiveashitphotoijustlikecoloursandb? πŸ™‚ (I myself quite like the orangey soda ash results, and the iron.) This is how we roll, us natural dyers!!!! BUT, once we know the general outcome of all those steps, we can play confidently and happily, mixing, mixing more, and mixing again. It’s not just a matter of throwing an avocado in a pot with some pretty muslin πŸ™‚ And more tests will now be done, in overdyeing with *other* dyes: quebracho rojo, cutch, madder, cochineal, etc etc etc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Speaking of misconceptions about dyes……..this article was brought to the attention of several natural dye groups yesterday. Quite an uproar ensued, because while yes we should be more aware of our purchases and the effects mass consumerism has on the world, we should also not have to, as natural dyers, be misrepresented by an uninformed “trend forecaster” belittling us with comments about natural dyes being “Subdued and melancholic…….”, even if she *is* trying to be “on trend”. Except for aforementioned avocados maybe, HA.

The ennui that rises from this article is a palpable stench. I would guess that’s the subdued and melancholic way of saying “i just don’t give a damn”. But then she of course redeems herself with pithiness because “She is given to issuing prophecies such as: β€œI think we will get very inspired by blouses.” *My* blouses are pretty vivid and lively 🀣(This is as bad an article as one i read by Germaine Greer, who hadn’t a CLUE about textiles, and textile art. I wrote about that on my old blog, here, and here. If you’re going to set yourself as an expert, do some research, for jeebly sakes.)

no manual included

Trees and moons and Spring are on m y mind–though *that* is far away right now, with -21C to -25C projected for this coming weekend. (My son has been in Uganda since the beginning of November–is he gonna get a shock, trying to climatize again to Alberta weather, after almost 2.5 months of African heat!) I’ve picked an indigo overdyed osage cotton, 2 different velvets for another blue moon, a previously screensprinted and then stencilled indigo cotton, and a hunk of the most wonderful chartreuse velvet i only hope i can replicate again! That one is the right side and you may notice a funny bit of photo editing to show the correct colour, a square of green set in the yellow–it ain’t yellow, but the studio is so wrong for photographing colour, and i was too pooped to drag everything upstairs and anyways, it’s a grey snowy day, so bear with me πŸ™‚

Here’s the indigo over osage:

Above is the piece of cotton i will use as the background (has bluer tones), below is a larger piece (greener tones) that i am drooling on and fondling:

I had revved up my indigo vat again on the weekend past. (Actually i had to start from scratch as the originals had to be dumped for the move…..too little to save, and too much chance of spillage or oxygen overload as it sloshed on a truck!) First results were not encouraging, but after asking in an indigo group what the problem might be, have concluded it might have been the tannin premordant, *and* the cutch, which is *also* a tannin. See the grey around the darker marks of indigo? (All photos in my posts are clickable for larger viewing.) I like the effect, but if it doesn’t “stick” well, it’s not a good practice if i wish to flog my goods later! (It also appears to have stripped the madder…)

Apparently tannin repels the indigo, something a lot have discovered with indigo and ecoprinting. Of course, checking my Boutrup/Ellis book, i should know better anyways and do the indigo first, THEN the mordanting, then the overdyeing. The two osage/indigo pieces mentioned above were done after this debacle, and though of course they were premordanted with tannin and alum, they don’t have as much tannin as the tannin/cutch piece, so the indigo struck properly!

I’ve been meaning to add less expensive, ready to use items to my inventory as well. Here’s the first test piece, a cotton neckscarf, clamp shibori-ed, and modelled by the ever silent Madame LaToussa.

I do like that, if i say so myself! The only problem is that the scarves were obviously hemmed with a polyester thread, but it’s not obtrusive enough to bother me (or probably anyone else) greatly. Barely noticeable.

I also have today clamped a shibori indigo dyed very hairy very scarey very contrary chenille scarf, ready to overdye, and as i mentioned in a previous post, i will do a post about that. I’m pretty sure it’s a failure, a funny one, and probably still wearable, but definitely a failure. You can judge for yourself at the time of showing πŸ™‚

I’d have a nap now, but Greyman will be home in several minutes.

I will have a nap now.