Natural Dyeing: 3 days of Good Smells

After a lot of extensive research, jotting down notes into my sketchbook, I think I’ve finally got all the information I need in order to start dyeing my own wool. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

To make dye Solution: Chop plant material into small pieces and place into pot. Double to amount of water to plan material. Bring to the boil and simmer for one hour. Strain. Now you can your fabric to be dyed. For a darker shade, allow material to be soaked for longer in the pot, even over night if you want.

Colour Fixatives:

1) Salt fixatives (for berry dyes) 1/2 a cup of salt to 8 cups of cold water.

2) Plant fixatives (for plant dyes) 4 parts cold water to 1 part vinegar.

Add fabric to your fixative and simmer for one hour. Rinse and squeeze out the excess water. Rinse under cool water until it runs clear. Place the wet fabric in the dye bath, then simmer together until your desired colour is obtained. The colour of the fabric will be much lighter once it has dried (Remember this!)

There are so many different colours you can create from boiling a mixture of different vegetables, fruits and flowers. I’m so ready to experiment and see what happens! When speaking with Keireine in a one-to-one tutorial we bounced off each other tremendously! Out of nowhere I mentioned the idea of turning what I have been doing on the free-hand stitch machine into a cushion, and by doing so stuffing the inside with something lovely and soft, and then using the wool that I dye to knit the back of the cushion. She loved that idea and we both began to get excited, but she mentioned to me that I shouldn’t just knit willy-nilly for the sake of knitting, I should knit taking inspiration from something. It was there that I showed her the disposable photo’s I had been taking during my time in Morocco, and then she went on to say how I should use one of my photo’s that sticks out to me the most- thinking about colours and shapes and textures, and so on. Here’s the photo that I have chosen to work with.

PHOTO

 

 There’s some lovely colours in here and the same goes for the shapes, so we decided it was a lovely starting point for a colour palette.

So now it’s time to get dyeing!

DAY ONE:

So I chose to use salt as my mordant, simmering my wool with water for one hour. My chosen vegetables and fruits for today’s dyeing is Red onions, Spinach, Blackberries and Blueberries.

Red onions in to simmer: 4pm -5pm. Strain. Wool into red onion dye 5pm – 6pm (est. 9 inches)

Spinach in to simmer: 4:15pm – 5:15pm. Strain. Wool into Spinach dye 5pm – 6pm (est. 9 inches)

(Second batch of wool simmering: 4:55pm – 5:55pm)

Blackberries in to simmer: 5pm – 6pm. Strain. Wool into Blackberry dye 6:10pm – 7:10pm (est. 9 inches)

Blueberries in to simmer: 6pm – 7pm. Strain. Wool into Blueberry dye 7pm – 8pm (est. 14 inches)

DAY TWO:

Two batches of wool in to simmer with salt mordant: 3:25pm – 4:25pm

Blueberries in to simmer: 3:25pm – 4:25pm. Strain. Wool into Blueberry dye: 4:10 – 4:40pm (est. 10 inches)

Avocado skin in to simmer: 3:35pm – 4:05pm. Strain. Wool into skin dye: 4:05pm – 5:05pm (est. 14 inches- DIP-DYED WITH AVOCADO NUT)

Avocado nut, crushed, in to simmer: 3:40pm – 4:10pm. Wool into nut dye: 4:05 – 5:05pm (est. 14 inches – DIP-DYED WITH AVOCADO SKIN)

(Wool batch two in to simmer with salt mordant 4:25pm – 5:25pm)

Turmeric in to simmer: 4:40pm – 5:40pm. Strain. Wool into Tumeric dye: 5:40pm – 6:40pm (est. 13 inches)

Rose petals in to simmer: 4:55pm – 5:55pm. Strain. Wool into petal dye: 6pm – 7pm (est. 11 inches)

DAY THREE:

Wool into salt mordant to simmer for one hour: 4:50pm – 5:50pm.

Red cabbage in to simmer: 4:50pm – 5:50pm. Strain. Wool into cabbage dye (dip-dye side 1) 6pm – 7pm. (dip-dye side 2) 5:30pm – 5:45pm. (est. 14 inches)

Oregano in to simmer: 4:50pm – 5:50pm. Strain. Wool into Oregano dye 6pm – 7pm. (est 9 inches)

After all are done simmering I squeezed out excess fluids and hung the wool out to dry. Throughout the dyeing process I used a little length of wool to use as a dip-dye to document the colours I was producing in order to get that into my sketchbook and to see what colour the wool was turning.

IMG_1333 IMG_1336

 

 

 

Here are some websites that helped me along with the process:

http://pioneerthinking.com/crafts/natural-dyes

http://knitwhatyouexpected.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/blueberries

http://knitwhatyouexpected.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/vegetable-dyes-mordanted-with-alum.html

http://knitwhatyouexpected.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/fruit-dyes-mordanted-with-alum.html

http://www.saniapell.com/athomeblog/homemade/the-colour-of-food-homemade-fabric-dyes/

http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Homemade-Natural-Dyes-31861660

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