Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Naturally dyed silk scarves - solar dyed

So remember a few days ago I posted about my fun, solar-dye experiment? I wanted to see how low-impact I could be with my natural dyeing. So I took a bunch of jars (scavenged mostly from garage sales), and added assorted natural dysestuffs, some alum (a mordant), water, and a bunch of wool yarn and silk scarves. I left them all in the sun. Well, the results are awesome. :)

Here are 4 scarves that have undergone 2 processes. In other words, dyed in one color, removed, tied or knotted as a "resist" technique, then put into another dye color. The result is basically natural tie-dyeing. These colors are a little washed out in the picture, they are much more vibrant in real life, but I just wanted some quick pictures. These will all be carefully photographed and put in my etsy store eventually. The colors are, from left to right: queen anne's lace/black tea, turmeric/madder, cochineal/logwood, and osage orange/black walnut. I WILL be doing more of these, as I'm VERY pleased with the results.

These are dyed single color. From left, 4 scarves dyed in hemp, 2 dyed in black tea, 2 dyed in turmeric.
These are also single color dyes. From left, 6 scarves dyed in logwood, 2 dyed in cochineal, 3 dyed in osage orange, 3 dyed in madder root.

I'm really pleased with this low-impact dyeing. I removed the first round of scarves and wool from the dye jars, added some more alum, and put in more wool and silk and cotton yarns. I will continue to do this until the dyebaths are totally exhausted, then compost the organic matter. However, this will take some time, as the dye materials are quite strong, and after sitting in the sun for several weeks, are continuing to get stronger and change. A few have developed some mold, but as I know from my compost dyeing experiments, that usually only improves the dye. Cool stuff. :)