Saturday, March 2, 2013

Eco fabric dyeing part 2

If you weren't here for part 1, which I posted yesterday, please go here before reading further.

When we left off yesterday, the stainless steel cook pot had just come to a simmer.  I placed the rolled bundles in the pot, and allowed the pieces to simmer uncovered for about six hours, never allowing the water to boil.  As I stated yesterday, I'm not sure if this is the right way to go about this process, but it was how I did it.

When I felt the color of the water in the pot was saturated, I removed the pot from the heat and allowed it to cool. 

When cool, I strained off the water, then took the fabric bundles to my craft room and placed them on a plastic bag that I laid on top of my craft sheet.  For the photo, I laid a piece of unaltered fabric next to the others, so you could see how much the process had changed the colors.  Then I allowed the pieces to sit still wrapped in bundles, for three days.  I have no idea what the ideal time is to allow them to dry, because, as I stated yesterday, I didn't have access to the original post or concept.

Next, I unwrapped the fabric, and threw the spent leaves, onion skins, and herbs in my compost container.  Although I saved the string and remembered to photograph the piece I wrapped in the rusty cast iron piece, I forgot to show the sticks I used, throwing them in my compost container, instead.  Remember I'm the anal one, cleaning up as I go, so I have no way to compare them once I removed the sticks.

Next, wearing rubber gloves, I rinsed all the fabric pieces in a mixture of water and baking soda because all the pieces had been exposed to rust.  Of course, I lost a lot of color rinsing the fabric, even though the rusty iron acted as a mordant.  For those of you not familiar with the word "mordant," it is the element or substance used to set dyes.  A mordant allows the dye to be absorbed through a chemical reaction.  Rust is one such mordant.  Vinegar and salt are two others which can be added either before, during, or after the initial process.

As an aside, I always caution that anytime rust or rusty fabric is involved, wear gloves and wash the fabric in baking soda and water to neutralize the rust.

Although I fell in love with the fabric swatch that had been wrapped in the rusty piece, the other pieces were far too subtle for my taste.

I may try to overdye the pieces that didn't take a lot of color, and I may just keep them as is.  Also, I was apparently unable to wrap the fabric tightly, so the string lines that should have been evident in the fabric didn't show very well, except in the rusty fabric.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, because like many of you, I take on a lot of experimental projects, like dyeing fabric, with no immediate use for them.  But of course, one of these days the opportunity will arise and one of these pieces will be the perfect addition to a quiltlet, a scrappy journal cover, or collage.  Thanks for dropping by.   I have to admit, this technique took a lot longer to create than it took to photograph and explain.  And I did it all using no chemicals or dyes.

10 thoughtful remarks:

DVArtist said...

Dying is so much fun and the techniques are countless. I love these pieces.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

So now I know why vinegar (Rust, salt) is added to dye! I always learn all sorts of things visiting here. The rust fabric is really cool--the others are light, but you always need contrast in a piece so I am sure you will find use for them.

Halle said...

Very cool! I look forward to seeing what those pieces end up being in your art adventures.

Dandelion and Daisy said... This is a link to the time I tried a form of this experiment. I got the idea from India Flint, who is a master at dying with natural materials. She has a blog called"Not all who wander are lost" and she has written a book. I didn't try rust, more leaves and stick and I steamed the bundle. I haven't used mine yet either but I'm working on a book idea where I think it would work.

SandeeNC said...

I loved that piece that was wrapped in the rust too, very cool pattern! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina♥

voodoo vixen said...

I always love your rust pieces so this it is no surprise to me that I like that one best... but the others though less bold in appearance will be perfect backgrounds for you to add stuff to and sew on... so I would designate this experiment a resounding success! I am not sure my patience would allow the 3 day drying time... i would have to peak!! LOL

Marilyn J. Rock said...

Love your fabric dyeing! Thanks for sharing with us. The results are awesome and worth all the work.
Be well......Love, Marilyn

Dianne said...

It's surprising how flowers and plants don't create as strong a dye as we expect, isn't it? I thought you'd have more success with the onion skins... but you are the queen of experiment and I'm looking forward to seeing more adventures!

Darla said...

You got some very interesting results. I like the subtle pieces as well and knowing how creative you are, I am sure they will be used in an interesting way.


~*~Patty S said...

I really enjoyed your Eco Dyeing One&Two Elizabeth!

You must be really pleased with the rust results!!!

I admire you for being able to let it simmer for so long ... patience is a virtue