Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Today's Dyepots

As we all know, we can rely on MX fiber reactive dyes to give us brilliant, saturated color when we want it. Both skeins below are Bambu 12 from Silk City, my current favorite for weft yarns for the jacquard loom. Because of the way the yarn is spun and plied, it spreads out and covers the warp very well when/where I want it to do so. The skein on the left was dyed with equal parts of MX scarlet and fuchsia ("pure" colors) and brilliant orange (a mixed color from Rupert, Gibbon, & Spider). The skein on the right is about equal parts of fuchsia ("pure") and grape (a mixed color from ProChem). I like to mix dye colors, because I think that makes for more saturated and rich color than the single-molecule, "pure" colors like scarlet and fuchsia.

The weather has decided to aim for "early summer" here, and today's temps were in the 90s, with a very low humidity. I put the skeins out on the balcony on a rack at 10:00am, and by the time I came down for dinner at 5:30pm, they were completely dry.

At the other end of the saturation spectrum is this silk scarf, which was dyed with what you might call "attar of roses." A few months ago, I tried to do an India Flint-like process of wrapping premordanted silk cloth with rose petals and letting it sit for a few days. In her book, she got faint pink splashes of color on the cloth. I got ugly brownish splodges. Yuck. (Thank heavens for overdyeing.)

But I had a lot of rose petals in the studio freezer that I had harvested late last summer. I hate to throw out something that might give color, so I put the petals (from *dark red* roses) into a pot of hot water and made a slurry of them using a hand-blender. The liquid was dark red. I strained out the solids and put two pieces of premordanted silk in the pot. Instant green. I kid you not. Subdued sage green, but definitely green.

I suspect that what's happening is that the red colorant in the water is fugitive - not capable of bonding with the mordant on the fiber. But there must be enough chlorophyll in the petals to make green. I've used chlorophyll extract from Earthues, and it was this shade of green. There's still one length of silk in the rose-petal dyepot. It might get darker if I leave it another day or two. Might not.

In the dregs of the Jatoba dyepot that gave me a lovely "peaches and cream" color on silk yarn (shown at the bottom of this page), there are two more lengths of silk cloth trying to grab the last few molecules of color in that pot.

When they're "done," I'll toss the rest of the liquid; it has done its job well but is clearly getting tired.


Connie Rose said...

Beautiful colors! As you may remember, I had a heckuva time getting good colors from much of the ecodye experiments I did. I've never come close to replicating India's colors, or any other ecodyer's for that matter. I'm given to thinking it's my water, although it doesn't test hard. But everything I ecodyed came out within a narrow range of color, certainly never those bright flower colors...and eventually I just gave up!

Sandra Rude said...

I'm glad I'm not the only dyer who can't replicate India's results. I always know how to get reliable color using traditional natural dyes plus the appropriate mordant, so I'm gonna stick with that methodology! And, of course, those good reliable MX and acid dyes...