Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dyeing with Black Walnuts

 Black Walnuts in the pot

My first adventure with Black Walnut dyeing. I received a box full of freshly picked Black Walnuts from my friend Tammy’s dreaded trees. I’ve searched the internet for ‘how to dye with these nuts’ and come up with lots of variations. Sounds like whatever you do, you will come up with some sort of dyeing success. So, I’m hopeful of good results. I’m also impatient so I will sort of follow the recipes that are quick and easy, which is ‘my way’ as Frank Sinatra would say.

I covered the bottom of a graniteware 5 gallon pot with the black walnuts, hulls and nuts, green and black and some with mold growing from them. This pot is/was a lovely mustard color, I’m afraid it won’t stay this color, on the inside at least.

I covered them with water plus some so I have a depth of about 8 inches of water and nuts.
Put the kettle on the stove to bring to a boil. Then I will boil them for 30 minutes.  15 minutes into bringing the pot to a boil process and the water is quite black.  After 30 minutes of simmering, the fabric was added and continued simmering for another hour.

Fabrics in the bath are: 1 yd cotton sateen, ½ yard basic cotton, 1 yd of partially pre-dyed damask that I then pleated in 2 inch pleats and hand stitched with quilt thread to hold the pleats. Also some misc. unknown content pieces of fabric. I’ll have to weigh it when its done dyeing.

Pre dyed:

After 1 hour in the simmering pot, the fabric looked about milk chocolate color, I was aiming for a darker brown so I decided to add 5 large rusty washers and let it simmer another hour.

Then I added red wine vinegar, about a cup and let it soak another 24 hours.   After 24 hours I rinsed, then tossed in the washer with synthrapol and a little laundry detergent, warm wash, cold rinse, then Dryer.

First dye results:

I’m not happy with the weak color, like a faded milk chocolate. I will re-dye again with more black walnuts. Some of the pieces turned out lovely, like the silk lining very dark brown, satin nice antiqued color and the fine loosely woven unknown content napkins.

Initial weight of full batch is 15 oz. I re-dyed 11 oz. the 1 yd of cotton sateen, half yard of misc. cotton and large damask piece.

In the re-dye I used the leftover dye and added another layer of green hulls. I boiled it for 45 minutes then put the fabric in overnight with the cover on to keep it warm. Well, it ended up being a week rather than overnight. I didn’t have time to rinse and thought, hey, what the heck, if one night is good, a week is better.

So this weekend I finally removed the fabric from the dye pot and hung it on the line outside to dry to enhance the setting of the dye, then I ironed it to possibly improve the adherence by heat setting the dye again. Then I washed and dryed the fabric in the dryer.

Results: The second batch did dye slightly darker than the short term dyeing. I am not enthralled with the results. I was hoping that the cottons would dye as dark as the silk kimino lining that turned a lovely rich warm coffee color. Overall I am happy with the results and will try this again.

Original results on the left, redyed on the right ( not a significant difference):

You never know what you’re going to get with natural dyeing, at least I don’t. Its always an adventure. The excitement is in the expectation for me. I realized I am an experimenter in my cooking and dyeing and many things I do. I enjoy trying new things, it’s the excitement of new discoveries that I am after.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dyeing damask linens with dyes from Nature

Using the techniques I learned from Shelley Ryan back in July (see my previous post) I wanted to try using all the damask linens I have been collecting from rummage sales.  These are some of the fabrics I use in my artwork so I wanted to see if the dyeing worked as well on cotton as it did with silk.  My results this time were similar to the silk, but with less color, more shades of grey.  This could be due to the fact I didn't use any flowers and when I used wire it was steel, not copper. 

The procedure was I had four separate Ziploc quart size bags, A, B,C and D.  In two of the dye bags I used wire to wrap the fabric and natural dyes.   For those with wire the fabric was wrapped around ingredients and then wrapped tightly with wire, those w/o wire were still wrapped tightly around ingredients.  Then I poured about 3/4 of a cup of white vinegar in each bag.  I left all the bags in the sun for 8 days, then dumped out the ingredients which looked and smelled like compost, then dried the fabric in the sun for several hours.   After rubbing off the excess coffe grounds, tea leaves, and other gook, I hung them on the line til they were really dry outside in the sun still.  Then they were pressed with hot iron which kind of stunk up the house for awhile.   Then I washed them with laundry detergent, dried them in the dryer and pressed again.  Each bag had a different variety of food bits, tea and coffee in them.  They all had vinegar.  You can see my results below and what was in each bag.

A. Vinegar, wire, smashed purple grapes w/seeds, used coffee grounds, used Hot Cinnamon Spice tea

B. Vinegar, mango fruit tea, rust dust, tannin, smashed purple grapes

C. Vinegar, wire, Pineapple calypso tea, Spiced black tea, smashed purple grapes

D. Vinegar, wire, Mango passion tea, used Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, smashed cherry pits

                                                               A.     B.     C.       D.

Have you done of this type of dyeing?  If so, I'd love to hear about your results.  I'd like to try hemp, has anyone dyed hemp with natural dyes?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dyeing from Nature at "The Flying Pig" Gallery in Algoma, WI

Today I dyed silk scarves with flowers, coffee grounds, dirt, wine and vinegar, among other things. Shelley Ryan, Wisconsin Gardener host and producer from Wisconsin Public Television taught a class at "The Flying Pig Contemporary Gallery and Greenspace". Shelley was a delightful instructor and it was a great day! There were 20 people in the morning class and a repeat in the afternoon.

 At lunch we were treated to a feast of concoctions pulled from the garden spaces at the gallery as well as a wine tasting from Von Stiehl Winery from Algoma, WI.  The Rose Petal Soup was great, as well as the Sweet Pea and Dill Salad, Blueberry Chicken Salad and Flower Petal Butters These were just a few of the samplings prepared for us. 

It was a great day to spend in the garden with Shelley and the staff from The Flying Pig.  I'm so excited to try some more of this dyeing  on my own.   

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oh the Possibilities!

Too much or just enough time on my hands leads to hair brain ideas or is it just creative thoughts?  I'm on the verge of a week long vacation with no specific plans.  It excites me to think I will have all this time and unlimited possibilities.  

Goal #1 is to spend time in my studio/sewing room.  But, I'm pulled to read a book, work on my crocheting, dye some more fabric, do some sketching, catch up on my internet surfing, email reading, blog checkouts, write to MY blog which I have so very much abandoned, and for sure take a break from the gym.  Where to begin?  

I started the weekend with a trip to the Trout Museum of Art Biennial Member Exhibit, Friday night.  I was pleasantly surprised by the diversified group of great artworks and a nice crowd of art lovers.  The fiber arena was well represented by myself and friends, Gwyned Trefethen and Jeanne Pfister as well as a few others I was unfamiliar with.  I submitted "Gawking Cranes" for this exhibit which runs through August.   One of my favorite pieces was by glass artist, Mary Jo Weidert.  She does fused glass and has her own gallery in Menash, the Wild Apple Gallery.  Check it out. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Milagros - Jack Alone

At the invitation of Kathy Briggs who is a member of Fiber Artists Coalition I was asked if I would like to be a guest artist for a traveling exhibit the group Fiber Artists Coalition is doing with the title "Milagros".  This exhibit debuts at the University of Michigan Hospital for their 2011-2012 exhibit calendar.  I was flattered and thrilled to contribute.  

The definition of Milagros is 'little miracles which offer comfort, hope, peace, strength and/or courage to the viewer'.  To me the Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a little miracle the way it pops up in the middle of May in the cool woods.  They are only seen by the lucky few who are looking for them, like me.  

The Fiber Artists Coalition is a group of fiber artists from the midwest United States who are all members of the Studio Art Quilters Association (SAQA).     

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Fine Line Creative Arts Center - St. Charles, IL - Material Ways

My piece, "Walk of the Cranes" is included in Material Ways - an exhibit of art quilts created by regional members of the Studio Art Quilters Alliance. Contemporary, one of a kind, pieces created by artists working with their own hand-dyed, painted and embellished fabrics. Each quilt reflects personal experiences of everyday life and the beauty of the natural world.
If you've never been to the Fine Line, you can look at this map to get there :

Reception: Saturday, January 8th from 1:30 - 4:00 PM

Show Dates: January 7 to February 19 (6 wks.)