Friday, 24 September 2010

Natural Dyes

Here is a good example of how a single dye bath can produce dye two different shades. The pigment was from onion skins. Approximately four times the weight of the dry silk to be dyed. The skins were brought to a boil and the first liquid was taken, carefully filtering any jellyish gunk from the boiled bath. The skins were brought to a boil again and the second dye bath taken. They were combined. The lighter skein was dyed for five minutes and then iron mordanted in a light solution for a few minutes. The lighter skein was also dyed in skein form and not opened so that the thread intentionally dyes unevenly. The second skein was left in the dye bath for 30 minutes and 10 minutes in a slightly stronger iron mordant solution. The color depth and difference coming from the amount of pigment absorbed, the amount of mordant used and the amount of time the thread was mordanted and left in the dye bath. Both colors are beautiful. I prefer to dye many different colors, build up a stock and then combine them later. On occasion I will aim for a specific color if the dyestuff is not available throughout the year and I want to weave a bigger item like a kimono.

I spun the darker silk roughly on a foot peddled spinning wheel. The camel colored thread was spun by Minako san on a motor driven silk spinner.

1 comment:

  1. the skeins are quite lovely. is the silk from your harvest?