Monday, October 10, 2011

Back to Dyeing

In pursuit of a design, I have used some of my old naturally dyed silk to play around with some machine embroidery.  I only had relatively small pieces left but that was fine for the design I have been working on in the last few days.
However, I decided that I might want some larger pieces and, as I had some undyed silk that I bought about a year ago, and some pieces I got on the remnant table at an expensive silk shop recently, I decided to do some natural dyeing.
I had also picked up some bark while walking at Yarra Bend recently, so the dyeing has been in the back of my mind for a while, obviously. I don't know what the trees were that I got the bark from, they had thick, stringy bark that looked like it would give good colour.

This weekend I decided to do something about it - finally.  I found some old bark that I must have collected about a year ago, lemon scented eucalyptus. I wasn't sure if having had it lie around for so long would be good or bad - I'm still not sure as it worked well but, who knows, it may have worked better if I had used it closer to the time I collected it.  Or, it may have worked well as it has been dry all that time and perhaps it was getting more intense.
Using very old lemon scented bark.  
I then used the bark that I collected recently, not knowing if the rain we have been having much more consistently this year would affect it, make it less strong.  That worked well too.  So I am a happy little vegemite at present.

As you can see, one of the fabrics was obviously not 100% silk, the weft stayed white.

It is amazing how different sorts of silk fabric take the colour up, some were very dark while others were more muted.

Being a not very precise dyer, I just put the bark in some water, boiled it up with the silk in it and let it simmer for an hour or so.  Then I let it all cool down overnight and washed the silk out in the morning.

There was quite a lot of good looking dye bath left.  I couldn't just throw it out, so in went some more silk, some mordant and I heated it up for another hour.  There is still more dye bath left, lots more dyeing to do soon.

The recent bark dye with ferrous sulphate added.

All of these were from the recent bark, some with mordant, some with none.

This one had copper sulphate added.
To top it all off, I still had a piece of tissue silk not used and some leftover dyebath with the ferrous sulphate, so I did a cold soak for an hour.  

Now all I have to do is come up with a design that will use a lot of these fabrics, otherwise I have been having a very expensive play for no good reason.

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