Well, I have to admit, I was thinking about making Multicultural Monday a monthly thing. I feel like I have lots to share and never have the time to share it all, but then while doing research for my natural dyes, I found a great activity to share with you that tied right into my natural dyeing. (If you missed day one of my natural dyeing experiment, check it out here. Post 3 or day 2 is here.)
Besides of course the history you can share from China, Native Americans, Egyptian, as well as Europeans and the Colonists of America, I found this great short lesson/experiment on Teacher Vision. It has a nice introduction about how the Native Americans did natural dyeing. Then it has a short activity dyeing fabrics in plastic bags using carrots, beets and red cabbage. They have the student rinse and then use detergents to see which stays in the longest. You could also change it to different mordants (ie. white distilled vinegar, salt, alum). Some mordants will change the colors as well.
To make it even more educational, you can use this lesson from Teacher Vision titled Native Americans Contribution to American Culture. (Wow, some interesting things to think about there.) Also Folk Tales of Northeast Native Americans also from Teacher Vision. Here is a link to Teacher Vision's Native American lessons. (Can you tell I love learning about Native American cultures?)
|1) Blackberries, 2) Sunflower Seeds/Blackberries/Beets, 3) Beets|
Anyway, back to my craft. This is actually day 3 of my natural dyeing experiments. I wanted to share this one with you since it uses the carrots and beets from the activity mentioned above. To learn about my experience with red cabbage, you will have to wait until later in the week!
I did a lot of experimenting today with dyes and methods. I tried orange marigold flowers (from Hazel's fairy garden), sunflower petals and sunflower seeds, carrots, blackberries, and beets. Beets definitely were the most successful. Half way through the day I decided the sunflower seeds had not done anything, so I threw the yarn in with the blackberry mixture. At the end, the blackberries hadn't had enough time to do much to this yarn so I threw it into the beet dye and took it out maybe 10-15 minutes later. It came out a pale pink (see picture above--middle skein). The sunflower petals did not seem to be doing much either, so I added more and tried putting them in the food processor. At the end I threw them in with the marigold petals since it was a bit darker. Oh, and our day started with breaking one of our big jars when we poured the beet dye in off the stove. Red dye all over my kitchen. Not fun!
I also experimented with method the past two days. Instead of always cooking the dye, I tried putting the fruit/vegetable or flower in with the mordant and then added boiling water. I did this to make it more kid friendly. Hazel just had to stay away when I added the boiling water. Today I did try to cook the beets, but as I explained I broke the glass so I went with the boiling water method.
|1) Carrots, 2) Marigold, 3) Sunflower Petals/Marigolds|
I will post Day 2 on Friday!! My mother has agreed to knit Hazel a striped sweater with all my home-dyed yarn!! She will actually finish the sweater unlike me!!
This is where I share...