Thursday, February 9, 2017

Second Thursday Tutorial: Dyeing to Try


The second Thursday arrived very early this month.  I was glad I had been wanting to dye some fabric using turmeric.  Please join me as I make a mess and learn a lot about this spice.

The recipe I found on the internet was for 4 cups water, 4 T (tablespoons) turmeric, and 1 T (tablespoon) alum.  I hope those are the same measurements world wide.

Before I begin, though, I want to reiterate that you should never, ever, ever, EVER use the measuring tools that you use in your craft room to cook food with.  Although what we are working with today are food grade ingredients, it's just a good habit to keep craft tools and supplies and food tools and supplies separate.   These are cheap tools that you can find at your thrift store, garage sales, and dollar/pound stores.

Like a fool, I decided to double the recipe. 

I used

every bit of my alum

and an entire tin of turmeric.  Of course, I had to spill it as I was trying to get the last of the 8 T out.

I learned from last month's black bean dyed fabric that I needed to find a better way of tying off the fabric.   So this time, I grabbed my waxed thread and tied the fabric using it.  I also tried to clean up the spilled turmeric and alum.  BTW, the fabric is another piece of the same bed sheet I used last month.

Since I had misjudged how much this batch would make, I decided to dye some other pieces, too.   Here I have both wide and narrow bias tapes.  I like to find white whenever I can, because that way I can dye it any color I choose.

I still had loads of room in the dye bath I intended to heat in my microwave,

so I grabbed another smaller piece of the same bed sheet.

I heated the fabric and dye bath for six minutes in my microwave, then removed it.

I was shocked that the turmeric had not dissolved.

I grabbed two pieces of wool felt and plunged them in the hot dye bath, hoping this would stir the turmeric.  Then I allowed the fabric and dye bath to sit overnight.

I realize the turmeric did not perform as planned, but I still got excellent results.

I saved the turmeric and alum mix, because I plan to try this again as soon as I feel better.  However, the next time, I plan to use my stove and stainless steel pot to "cook" and dye the fabric.

Even the rinse water was filled with color and turmeric.

After I cut the strings, I saw the bits of fabric threads that had turned a golden yellow, and I got the idea to color some white thread.  I have TONS of white thread, so this seemed like a good idea.  I placed the spool in one of the jars and shook it.  Once I pull it out of the dye bath, I'll show it on my blog.

But for now, here are the results of my experiment.  From left to right are the two pieces I scrunched up and tied together.   Next is the long piece I started with.  Then there are the two bias tapes that I allowed to dry in that shape.

Color me impressed!  And look at that mottled fabric.  I attribute that to the fact I didn't wet my fabric before placing it in the dye bath.

The wool felt was less impressive, but I was still pleased with the subtle color I achieved.

If you look closely, you can tell there is mottling there, too.

As I was snapping away, I didn't notice the wasp that had taken a liking to the turmeric.

I was more concerned about the beauty I had achieved.

Once this is ironed,

I'm sure the various designs I made using the waxed thread will be useful.

This was even better than the black bean dyed fabric.

But, the wasp was still hanging around, and had now summoned a friend, too.

It was time for me to retreat to the porch and hope the wasp and his friend didn't follow me.

Once this post goes live, you will find it in my Tutorials under Dyeing Using Turmeric.

I am so grateful you chose to stop by today, even though the dye job was technically a bust because the turmeric didn't dissolve like it should have.   But your continued support of these monthly tutorials makes it all worthwhile.


21 thoughtful remarks:

Helen said...

turmeric is a really strong colour, so I am not surprised you achieved such great results! looking forward to seeing the how the cotton thread comes out, some time. Have fun with those pieces of fabric.

Cindy McMath said...

Gorgeous colours Elizabeth. And huge bugs!

Valerie-Jael said...

What a fab colour this turned out, looks like the colours some Eastern monks wear, I wonder if they used this dye? Great project Elizabeth, love how it turned out. Did my mail arrive yet? Hugs, Valerie

chrissie said...

Wonderful dye idea as always and I love the colour it produced. I have never tried tie dye but you have me hooked with the ones that you do so well

Hope you soon feel fit again

Love Chrissie xx

kaybee said...

Wow, what stunning colour, I love it! I've never tried to dye fabric but your experiments are always so inspiring. Long may they continue!

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Oh my gosh.. amazing how the color turned out Elizabeth! GREAT!

Zsuzsa Karoly-Smith said...

Cool, I've got some turmeric that I don't know what to do with! That colour is fantastic!

Nancy said...

Oh my, golden glow! Love what the turmeric did for you.

Sandra Cox said...

What a beautiful gold color. It looks like sunshine.

Sami said...

I think the fabrics look great with the turmeric yellow.
Interesting that you managed to catch the wasps.

CJ Kennedy said...

I don't have much experience with dying fabric. And have just splashed coffee, tea, coffee grounds and tea bags on paper. So, I understand the use of alum as a mordant to set the dye, but why do you need to dye using hot water? Is that to help whatever spice you are using to dissolve? The golden color is beautiful. I can see why bees and wasps would be attracted to it. Would elastic bands be easier to use to bunch the fabric? Or being thrifty do you want to use the string in a project, too?

My name is Erika. said...

That is gorgeous yellow. I think it reminded the wasp of sunflowers. Maybe he thought he got lucky and found some blooming. :) Its snowing like the devil here right now. WE're in the 10-16 inch range- and they say another big one is coming over the weekend. Yowsa! Enjoyed your tutorial today. Hugs-Erika

Özge Başağaç said...

This is such a happy coincedence. Yesterday i have read an article on natural dying with turmeric. I decided to try it with my leftover turmeric at home.Then i saw your post today. I hope you are feeling better. I think the results are great. I love yellow.

Krisha said...

Your dye job turned out so pretty, but I do know turmeric is a strong color , so I wan't surprised that it worked. Just surprised at how beautiful the fabric became.

sheila 77 said...

Again, what a story, Elizabeth, your experiments are always such an adventure. I'm surprised the turmeric didn't dye more than the fabric as whenever I use a teaspoon of turmeric in cooking it always manages to stain some of the surface as well.
These all look terrific, what a depth of colour and delicate patterning.

pearshapedcrafting said...

Wow! What an amazing colour! One of your best. ...no...the best! Just imagine this with any other colour - sorry, another Wow! Can hardly believe that you have wasps already - I think your wasps are bigger and stronger than English wasps! Hugs, Chrisx

Corrine at corrinegilman.com said...

Fantastic bold color and great marks from the strings. Feel better soon. xox

da tabbies o trout towne said...

whitefish wavez two ewe bleubeard frum all oh uz in de land oh trout ! hope yur fry day, caturday & SUN day R total lee awesum....heerz two a green spotted puffer kinda week oh end !! ♥♥♥ { we all wayz sign off each week witha tribute ta fish ! } ☺☺☺

Dianne said...

wow! that is a gorgeous color!! just the sunniness I can use on a cold winter day...hope you feel better soon! ♥

Jeanie said...

That's such a fabulous and rich color. The tumeric really is amazing for that. I've never done much dyeing but this could motivate me!

Özge Başağaç said...

Dear Elizabeth, Thank you for your lovely comment on my January sweater. I dropped by to give you a little nudge if you do not mind :) The pattern i used for this sweater is free. It is kindly provided by Laura Casey of Sew Different Blog.If you visit her website you will see the pattern "2 hour top". It is a very beginner friendly pattern, only composed of 4 pieces (two identical pairs). So it is easy to print the pdf, trace on fabric and cut. As the name implies, it is possible to finish it in 2 hours. The reason i am writing this is that, looking at the photos, it dawned on me you have enough turmeric dyed fabric to give it a try :) Best wishes.