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?

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