Eco-dyeing is such a rage right now and I always wonder why I don't do it.
I have messed around a few times but have been to lazy to get a book from the library to figure out what to do. And I dare not ask an internet friend 'cause I remember how she feels about questions re; dyeing ... take a workshop, she would say !
When I went camping in September I had a pint jar, 2 tiny bits of iron, vinegar and some internet directions on how to rust-dye with these products. Instead of wetting with vinegar and wrapping around some iron, I decided to immerse the cotton-wrapped bundle in a cup of vinegar with some plain water to cover .... I let my small piece of cotton sit in the solution for a few days. Voila !
A nice colour but I don't see anything there to embroider !
It could be cut up and used in something else, I guess.
A few days ago, I decided to experiment again ... again, not really knowing what the hell I was doing !
I had found 3 glorious maple leaves the day before the snow began to fall. I wrapped them in a piece of cotton and submerged the bundle in a pint jar containing a small rusty spring in the bottom, added boiling hot water and a splash of vinegar ... it's too damned cold to boil this stuff outside, so I figured if any colour was going to be released from those leaves, the hot water should start the process. The splash of vinegar was a spur of the moment ... oh, yeah, and 2 copper pennies were in the bottom as well.
Almost immediately the fluid turned quite dark and there were black flakes swirling around in there ! It just got darker until I could no longer see anything swirling. I left all sitting in the window and did not take any deep breathes over the concoction ... I was feeling very 'witchy' ! The next day I opened up the bundle ... maple leaves were showing... areas where the string was tied, showed ... lots of contrast and the cloth smelled like wet leaves. I rinsed in warm water and ironed it.
Laying one end against the other (where most of the action was) I could see a pair of aliens or astronauts, or 2 toddlers in snowsuits unable to move for the bundling !
It's been snowing a lot and there is very little good light for photography.
But I still had this jar with this glorious dark colour ... what to do with it ?
Then, because I was purging my studio and came upon an envelope of silk that I had ordered from Dharma, I whacked myself off a 45" x 8" length of it, scrunched up the silk and submerged it in the juice. The next day I had a lovely warm grey, mottled length of silk.
I wondered if I could get a repeat so got another length of silk, twisted it lightly and popped it into the juice for another day ... same result, just mottled a little differently ... these would make lovely scarves.
I have ironed them but am wondering if ironing will set the dye ? I will have to visit 'google' ;)