With Marian from Florcita we have decide to do some dyeing experiments together. She, being in the Netherlands and me being in Scotland, using similar materials and methods and wishing to see how similar or different our results will be.
Our first experiment deals with mordants used in preparion of fibres to dye with plants. We wanted to see how different mordants influence the depth of color extracted from a natural dye (logwood) and how energy/water consuming the process is. I choose mainly vegetable fibres since I haven’t done much natural dyeing on them and the ones I did I wasn’t happy with because 1. the color soon washed out (when only alum mordanted, washed in the washing machine at 40 C) 2. was very time/energy/water consuming (alum-tanin-alum mordanting). Since I use fabrics for nunofelted clothes I would like to ensure that the color is light and wash fast at least to some degree (handwash?). We followed recommendations from the book Eco Colour by India Flint.
First I mordanted fibres with the following mordants:
- silk fabrics, alum
- cotton and linen fabrics with1. tea, 2. rhubarb leaves, 3. alum+washing soda (AWS)
- fabrics mordanted with alum+washing soda were then mordanted with proteins 1. one batch with diluted eggs, 2. another batch with diluted soy milk. This I did three times (3x in alum+WS, 3x in proteins)
- I dyed all the fibres in one pot with logwood
- after dyeing I rinsed the fabrics thoroughly.
Here are the results:
linen napkins, on the left mordanted with rhubarb leaves, on the right with AWS and diluted eggs
cotton muslin, unbleached, on the left mordanted with tea, on the right with AWS and soy milk
from the left to the right, fibre and mordant: linen (rhubarb leaves), muslin (tea), linen (AWS + eggs), muslin (AWS + soy milk), silk ponge 05 (alum), silk chiffon (alum)
I like the color and am pleased that it turned out more towards blue grey rather than purple, in fact I haven’t achieved any purple on any fibre
The finer the fabric the better it takes up the dye (silk & muslin vs linen)
Tea and rhubarb leaves seam to be much weaker mordants than combination of AWS and eggs/soy milk
- This expriment will continue: at some point I hope to make something from the fibres, wear it and wash it and see how much color is left.
- Also, I am still exhausting the dyebath and with the next batch I wish to use aftermordants and see how the color shifts. When done I will blog about it again.
Now I am curious what Marian has found out!