Monday, December 31, 2007

The Latest Wood Dyes

We've had damp, rainy weather, so it's taken a few days for the skeins to dry, but they're finally ready to be photographed. In the dry season (which is about 9 months of the year here), I would just hang them outdoors and let them air-dry; instead, they hung indoors.

The two warp skeins, which I photographed while in the dyepot and posted on December 17, dried much too pale, so I overdyed them to a darker color. This time I added mordant to the dyepot because I didn't want to subject the skeins to yet another immersion process by mordanting them separately (too much risk of tangling).

The skein on the left (100% tencel) was originally dyed with redwood chips to a pale peach. I overdyed it with brasilwood (about which more later) to a sort of dusty rose color.

The skein on the right (80% tencel, 20% silk) was originally dyed with chips and shavings of an unspecified tropical hardwood to a light beige. I overdyed with walnut sawdust and chips to a darker but similar hue.

The weft skeins were a real revelation. Remember the jar of brasilwood shavings I posted on December 21? When I put the chips and liquid into a dyepot, added some water, and simmered for a few minutes, the liquid turned the most incredible deep dark purplish red. Here's a look at the results:

From left, all on 60/2 silk:

1. Brasilwood chips alone, about 1/3 of the liquid obtained from simmering the chips.
2. Brasilwood chips, another 1/3 of the liquid, plus fustic extract (which dyes bright gold-to-brown, depending on concentration).
3. Brasilwood chips, the last 1/3 of the liquid, plus osage orange extract (which dyes vivid yellow).
4. Eucalyptus leaves. Different variety than I used last time, and the color is also somewhat different. The leaves were simmered several days before Christmas, then left to soak in a covered pot outdoors until several days after Christmas.
5. Walnut chips, second bath.

The rosy warp skein was dyed in the leftover baths from 1, 2, and 3. A heck of a lot of color for about 4 ounces of brasilwood chips that soaked in alcohol for about a month. Apparently, the first use of baths 2 and 3 absorbed the second color from each, leaving mostly brasilwood red for the warp skein to absorb.

I've heard that the brasilwood dye is more colorfast when extracted with alcohol than when extracted in water. I plan to do a light test on a small portion of the thread to be sure - the rain has finished for a few days, so there's sun to spare.

The weaving draft is still in the fine-tuning stage. I'll post a screenshot later, probably after the New Year.


Leigh said...

Yummy colors Sandra! Well done!

Helen said...

Your colours are absolutely gorgeous and I am particulary interested in your observation that brazilwood is more lightfast when extracted in alcohol as the reason I do not use brazilwood is because of it's poor lightfastness. So I will ahve to try that. Thanks

mollymollymoonpie said...

Hi Sandra,

I came across your blog via the links page of the NaturalDyes Yahoo group, and I'm very happy to have discovered it.

I have a mason jar with brazilwood and alcohol that has been steeping since late October, and after having seen the beautiful pictures of your results, I am very excited to see what kind of results I will get when I finally get around to dyeing with it!

You are truly an artist! Thank you for allowing us to share in the process with you.

working on setting up