Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Natural Dyes

I took a short workshop in February on natural dyes, paints, pigments, and paper which was really inspiring. I have been experimenting with different plant based dyes including onion skins, beets, red chard stalks, California Mountain Lilac, and wild fennel. It is super fun and fulfills my need to not throw ANYTHING away - (shout out to Mom for the lifelong guilt for wasting). 

I soaked my textiles in Alum Sulfate beforehand, but someone told me that Alum Acetate is apparently better for cellulose materials (plant based textiles). 

This is the onion skin dye, which only boiled for two hours and the yarns only soaked for about one hour. The color is vibrant and it took almost no time. 


Here are the drying yarns lookin pretty in the sunshine. 

 This is the beet/chard dye. It sat in my fridge for five days while I waited for the Alum to come in the mail, and it didn't work to dye the yarn very well. I think the dye probably needs to be used immediately to have the greatest staining power. Now it kind of just looks like a dingy white and purple tangle. Going to retry with fresh chard stalks! 

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