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.
|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.|
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.