Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My homework lessons

My mind and hands have been in dyepots the past few weeks. In between tending the farm and working my "day job" it's been a whirlwind! I have started a rather lengthy but useful dye study. I am studying, through dye tests, how each of the natural dyes I sell for Earthues is affected by 3 mordant variables, 2 water variables, 2 substrate variables and 4 substrate color variables. The result will be a reference guide for me and also to share when you are inquiring about "what-ifs" with your own natural dyeing. Below is the project as it began last week.

Below is a blender (not my kitchen one, mind you!) full of raw madder that has soaked and is ready to blend before adding it to the dyebath. Yummy!
The resulting skeins from the madder root which did just as I desired! I added Calcium Carbonate to the dyebath for the left skein to richen the red orange of the right skein to a deeper red. The silk pieces were treated the same the silk! Love the wool actually!
These are 5 dye tests cooling after dyeing. Left to right: Cochineal, Chestnut, Cutch, Fustic and Lac.
Here are the same tests after cooling but still wet. There are 7 variables within each dye test. When dry, each substrate will be labeled as to it's variables and dye % used and a sample will be placed in a journal for each dye. Laborious but SO useful!


  1. Anonymous4:13 PM

    what fascinating & rewarding work! looking forward to seeing the book when it's all done! ~ m.

  2. Dyeing makes me so giddy! Nice job.... I want to see more more more!!!