Thursday, November 19, 2015

Playing with Natural Dyeing

Cotton fabric having a quick dip with the simmered blueberries. 

Adding 1/4 cup of salt to my cherry liquid, prior to adding fabric for further simmering.

Immediately after rinsing - blueberry dipped and simmered on left, cherry dipped (lower) and simmered (top) on right.

Blueberry and cherry dyed after first gentle hand wash

Paler and greyer after cold machine wash

Roadside flowers - cosmos?

Deconstructed flower heads in a jar ready for 'solar' dyeing - no added heat 

Turmeric - fresh grated, bottled paste and dry powder all added for no heat dyeing

Turmeric (left) and flowers (right), rinsed after overnight, no heat, soaking

 Bright yellow - Turmeric dyeing after overnight soaking, no heat used

Mottled pink/yellow from flowers, bright yellow tumeric (fades in sunlight)

Like a child playing, I've been enjoying experimented with natural dyeing, or as I like to think of it - deliberate staining. Using only edible plants with my cooking/heat dye trials, I figured I could do no harm. I began with some frozen blueberries and cherries, simmering gently in separate pots for around an hour. I dipped some wet cotton fabric in each. Pretty! After removing the fruit solids I added some salt as a colour fixative, simmering again with some extra pieces of fabric. Following thorough rinsing, air drying and ironing, the colours were delicate with a grey tone. After a machine wash the colours had disappeared further, leaving the fabric pieces looking more grey than blue or pink.

I was about to discard a small ageing bunch of flowers Friday night but thought I may as well try some no heat dyeing. In another glass container I experimented with a combination of turmeric - fresh, bottled paste and dry powder. The water didn't turn bright yellow until after I added the dry powder so I suspect it was the most powerful component. Both of these jars were left overnight to soak with no added heat. I was quite impressed with the results, especially the turmeric. 

As you may know from staining bench tops or utensils with turmeric, the stain fades and disappears naturally with exposure to light. Knowing this I am happy to make some easy and fun decorations for our home and suspect they will end up on our Christmas tree next month. If they fade too much I guess I could always refresh their colour with another overnight soaking in turmeric. My natural dyed fabrics may not be suitable for making a quilt (yet?) but I don't mind for I am playfully enjoying the process, happy to be surprised along the way. 

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.


hydeeannsews said...

deliberately stained - nicely phrased! how fun to experiment like an inquisitive child again for a bit. with lovely photos to boot! it's too bad the blueberry didn't stick - it was such a pretty shade.

Susan said...

Sounds like you are having a lovely time playing........and with beautiful results too.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Thanks Hydeeann. I’m thinking there may be different processes which will achieve better results. I may look into it further one day.

Dirk Rosin said...

kreative bilder ! :-)

Janneke said...

Exciting the experiments with natural dying. You have been very successful with the yellow colour, the blueberry colour has faded away a bit too much I think but you can give it abnother dip.
Success with your creativities!

Fun60 said...

What a fun activity and with some interesting results.

Kirsten said...

There are so many beautiful colours in nature to try out fabric dyeing. And I just came across another one using Turmeric in Pinterest this morning too.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

That’s a great link, thanks Kirsten! I might try their method next time.

diane b said...

Sounds like you are having lots of fun. Its a shame the dye isn't stronger. Have you tried beetroot and onion skins?

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Thanks Diane, I’ve read a little about onion skins and have started to save them. Beetroot would be a good one to try too.

Giga said...

It is worth experimenting, because effects are interesting. Not always are the colors which is expected, but it is important that he tries. Best wishes.

SarahZ said...

This looks like wonderful fun! You might also try vinegar as a setting agent for the color? The boys have had very good success using aged walnut hulls, soaked at length in water in a metal tub, to dye their "frontier shirts" and cloth accoutrements. It leaves the garments a warm woodsy brown/grey. I won't be surprised if this is not the last we see of your experimentations :)

Filip and Kristel said...

Like the water, frost and shine on the first pictures.


tinajo said...

It turned out really pretty - had no clue! :-)

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