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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Natural Dyeing Part 3

Ok, this is really from my second day of experimenting with dyes and techniques, but it is the third post since I already posted Day 1 and Day 3. On this day we did some experimenting. I tried to make the process easier and a bit more kid friendly. I made a crucial mistake though. I did not pre-soak in the mordant. My colors washed away much more and are not as deep as they could be.
Celery Leaves
We started with Hazel chopping some celery leaves. We were hoping to get some green yarn. Unfortunately, it did not seem to work for us. I don't know if the pre-soak would have affected it or not. Half way through the day I added baby spinach with more vinegar and water, but it still didn't do anything. I actually re-dyed this yarn on Day 3. My new method is to put the chopped vegetable, fruit, flower in the jar with the mordant and then add boiling water. This way I did not have to use the stove (I have an electric tea kettle) and Hazel could help more.
Purple Cabbage

The next experiment was really neat. I had read on Poppytalk (which I found through Pineterest) that using vinegar or salt with red cabbage gave different colors. (She does a neat table runner with natural dyed fabrics--I definitely want to try this at some point!) I wanted to try this. This is actually why I didn't pre-soak. I wasn't sure what to do with the salt at the time. Now I have found recipes on how to do it (on Pioneer Thinking). And the neat thing is I was telling a family I tutor for about the experiment and the student I work with said, "Oh, I know why. We just learned this in chemistry class." She was so excited to see a real life application of it. It has to do with the pH of red cabbage. For more information to use as a lesson or possible understand yourself check out this explanation on About.com (plus it is really a neat science experiment there).
Purple Cabbage 1) Salt Mordant 2) Vinegar Mordant
 Look at the different colors you can get with purple cabbage!! I was so amazed. (It might be worth it to try making the green with the ammonia as the mordant. I just don't know if it will work on wool.)
1) Purple Cabbage with Vinegar, 2) Purple Cabbage with Salt, 3) Celery Leaves/Spinach
Since I did not pre-soak with a mordant, I rinsed with a mordant or should I say post-soaked in a mordant. I do not recommend doing it this way. It is definitely worth taking the 20 minutes to pre-soak. Please learn from my mistake!!
Same order as picture above with original colored skein on top.
As you can see the celery leaves and spinach did not change the color for us. Oh, well. Day 3, I had more success with this skein. Hazel had asked to dye some blue, so I'm glad the purple cabbage and salt worked. Next time I will definitely pre-soak though!! My hopes is for a rainbow sweater for Hazel from all this great yarn! When we went back to Drumlin Farm this week I bought two more skeins. I may retry the red cabbage with pre-soaking and I may buy a good natural green dye since none of my experiments worked.

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8 comments:

  1. Wow you did a great job! Thanks for sharing, I'm a new follower from a blog hop, please follow me back at http://iheartpears.blogspot.com

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  2. I think they are absolutely perfect...the color is soft and dreamy! Good job!

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  3. That looks like so much fun, can't wait to try it!

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  4. It never ceases to amaze me the natural dye colours we can achieve!

    Thanks for sharing on fun Sparks

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  5. Your natural wool dying looks like such fun, and I am loving the results you are getting! Mmm, now to get some natural wool and try it ourselves ;-)

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  6. I love that you have the patience to do all this work! It is amazing. I also love all the different combinations you tried, it's interesting how they come out. Thanks for linking up to Thinky Linky Thursday!
    Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

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