November 14, 2010

Eco Dyeing Bug

I got the eco dyeing bug from India Flint's book, Eco Colour. There are quite a few of us here on blogland that got the same bug. A few that I've been following are: Kaite, Deanna, Jude, Jacky and the latest one I came across  is call Resurrection, it's amazing! Once you got this bug you would never walk pass a tree or flowers without translating them into colour you can dye from. There is a beautiful Australia garden where I work. I take a walk around it for exercise daily. On the same walk I look out for what would be possible dyeing materials. I of course only gather the ones on the ground blown by the wind - branches, leaves and flowers. These are the best because they are mature and ready for dyeing. The last batch I dyed a few days ago using Eucalyptus branches, leaves and flower buds. I don't have a clue what species of Eucalyptus they are. I have read somewhere that there are 270 species of Eucalyptus in Australia. Am I right Kaite? 

The last couple of years when I was heavily into basket weaving I actually used materials from the same garden and made a few baskets from them. 
In this dye batch I used silk from the lining of a vintage Kimono. Another piece of vintage silk, linen and cotton. I wrapped each piece around a thick branch and used some leaves to roll it up tightly and secured it with elastic bands, I then boiled up some leaves and branches in a saucepan I use only for dyeing. I sat the 4 bundles on top  and immersed some in liquid and steamed them for 30-40 minutes. I left the bundles for a day or two before unwrapping them.
After I unwrapped the bundles I rinsed them thoroughly and pressed them. Eucalyptus dye generally gives an orange to brown tint depending on the type of trees. You can see these fabrics were dyed in the same bath, but they turned out differently. 
Above left is vintage silk I bought off the roll and it seems to be taking the dye quite well. The piece on the right is cotton from a tablecloth. I just wandered if it's not 100% cotton because it didn't take the dye all that well. 
Silk Kimono lining turned out very nicely. I love the mottled look caused by the leaves I wrapped in the bundle. Click to see a close up of the hand stitches that came with the piece when I got it. It also has loose thread that I will use to stitch back into it. I actually bought the whole silk lining for only $10 from Ziguzagu. I'm having fun cutting small pieces from it for dyeing. 
This piece is linen that used to be part of a tablecloth. It has the eyelets design running through the piece. I think linen takes the dye very well. You can find linen blouses from op-shops for this purpose. I've found a few of them lately, but they are such good quality blouses that  I can't bring myself to cut them up. I will wear them  for a while before I put them in the dye bath. 

If you have never dyed before, you should have a go. It's easy and fun, but be warned; it's addictive too. You may ask what will you do with the fabric after you dyed it? Right, for me because I like playing with cloth and stitches so I intend to use the hand dyed fabric for projects. Take one of Jude's online workshops and you will understand what I mean...!


Béa said...

Wonderful ! I love dying but never try natural dying. Can't wait to see what you will make with this beautiful fabric.

Maree: said...

Wow! all the fabrics turned out Beautiful I Love the different Effects each one took..TFS.

kaite said...

hi Nat, i don't know how many eucalypt species there are as they keep finding new ones, but i know there are a lot. Cotton doesn't take the dye very well i've found, unless it's mordanted and even then it's not as good as silk. You got good results here, well done. k.

Suedio said...

Wow Nat, you've got some great pieces there. I can't wait to see what you do with them!

Regards, Sue

Lis said...

I haven't done any dyeing for ages but love the surprises you get with natural dyes. I used papery onion skins a lot for those rusty colours - rather short on eucalyptus here ha ha

QuiltSue said...

I love what you've done with these fabrics, and how they've all turned out differently.

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Wow Nat...they look great...I've never really gotten into dyeing before!!! Dzintra♥x

Kathie said...

I love how that linen looks, beautiful
never tried dying , but I am tempted now!
your package is in the mail! enjoy!

iNdi@na said...

recycled [ie prewashed] linen and cotton generally dye more easily than the new stuff [all that sodium carbonate in the detergent helps]
i've sometimes found that old silks can be tricky - those that don't take up colour well have usually been dry-cleaned [ugh] at some point in their lives
as you say
tis all addictive and i never tire of opening bundles, or of watching students gasp with delight when they open theirs. am very grateful for this delightful way of making a living!

Bev C said...

Hello Nat,

It certainly is an interesting process. I don't know if I could wait 2 days to see,I would have to have a little peak before. Interesting about the dye not taking to the cotton fabric.Do you dye threads as well?

Happy days.

deanna7trees said...

oh you got wonderful results. mine were not that successful this time. the oak leaves don't do as well as the chinese tallow I used last time. and I think I will leave the turmeric on the shelf for awhile. It seems to take over. Have you used turmeric at all, Nat? I will post my results sometime today.

jude said...

hey, nat, some nice soft results,i love the old linen and how it dyes. and its a good thing because my grandma left me oodles of it. it is interesting to me most of all how all the different cloths have different personalities when it comes to dye. thanks for the mention too! xx

Jacky said...

Arent gum leaves wonderful, they give off such a beautiful range of colours. I love using the more silver coloured leaves as they seem to give off a better colour in the dye pot.
The silk and old linen coloured beautifully. I've done a couple of pieces recently, not using gum leaves, but others from the garden...not terrible good results. But...its all trial and error and we can always overdye!

Jacky xox

Terry said...

Nice results. The flowering gums which come out at Christmas give a great range of color. They are mostly West Australian and found in planted gardens. You might find some in your work gardens.

Like the linen.

ParisMaddy said...

Nat, these are stunning. I love the flowing designs the linen one took on. I've only dabbled in dying (always love the results) but you make it look so desirable and easy. I've never heard of Jude so thanks for the links---I'll go check it out.
Cheers. You are such an adventurous, fun person that it's always a wonder to visit your blog.

Sand and Sunshine said...

What a neat idea. I like how it's not as instant and toxic as normal dyes and the method of wrapping them is swell.

Janet said...

What fun, the fabric colour looks like ancient parchment, I love the effects.

Anonymous said...

these are lovely

how can one not be moved to work with these. great work.

Kim D. said...

Wow, lots of pretty fabric pieces, they came out really nicely. I can see how this could become addictive.

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