I meant to do this over summer and just never got round to it. I still have bits from the last big batch I did for the antependium project, and I don’t have a specific project in mind for this lot – I just thought I might as well stock up.

I have run into one tiny problem though. I thought this week would mainly be spent answering the phone and net, taking bookings for the term ahead rather than actaully working – an activity easily combined with dyeing – but now I have bookings for tomorrow and friday, so it looks like I’ll be spending every evening next week with a pot simmering away instead of getting it over and done with by the weekend. Ok, so I’m self employed, and work is always good because it silences that nagging voice in my head that tells me I’m going to starve and that the house will be repossessed when I can’t pay the mortgage, but it doesn’t half bugger up your hobbies sometimes, even the hobbies that technically count as part of work. So, my kitchen is a laboratory for an extra week, and I’ll have to suffer M and S food cos I don’t like doing raw food prep when there are chemicals about. But I get to gag the nagging voice for a while -yay!


Those colours don’t look quite bright enough on my monitor, but never mind. they tend to look scruffy when wet anyway, as I dye with the plants loose in the bath, and a lot of it clings to the damp fibre even after washing – it shakes off once it’s dry. everything was pre-mordanted with alum and dyed according to my previous instructions. I always make sure my skiens are wound to an even size, that way I don’t have to wiegh everything all the time as I know roughly how much each wieghs

top row – persian berries and alum

2nd row  left – safflower and allum in an alkaline bath. research said safflower+alkali= reds. obviously not.

2nd row right – safflower and alum with no alkali (the darker hank is silk). I actaully really like both the safflower yellows

3rd row – weld and alum. meh, I never much like weld much, I only use it because it’s authentic.

bottom row left – weld and alum with an after mordant of tin. I think this is possibly the only weld yellow I’ve had that I’ve liked, the snag being that stannous chloride stinks soemthing terrible, and the smell lingers no matter how you wash it.

bottom row right – weld and alum with an after mordnat of copper. I can only describe that colour as trollskin greige.

I know this looks like an shedload of yellow. Ok, it is a shedload of yellow, but a lot of it is going to get overdyed. I need greens

I’m actaully going to be getting gareth to help me write a strongly worded letter to fibrecrafts about the dyes though(he’s very good at that sort of thing), as I hadn’t realised until I threw one on the digital scales that they weigh the dyesuff to include the wieght of the bag. The bags they use are 10g each, which means that depending upon which dye you buy you’re paying between 35p and£1.25 for a bag, which I find utterly unreasonable (and one was underwieght even if you take into account the supposed 10% loss or gain due to atmospheric conditions). I’ve bought from them for years but unless they give me a 10% discount to account for the cost of the bags I’ll buy my dyes elsewhere from now on


~ by opusanglicanum on September 4, 2013.

4 Responses to “dyeing”

  1. Having spent the morning with a friend doing indigo dyeing for the first time, I have a new and deep respect for what you’ve got there! I know I don’t have the patience.

    • Indigo is a whole extra level of complicated, and does need a lot more attention than most dyes. the oen’s I;ve been doing so far are pretty much a case of leave the pot alone on the lowest heat possible for a few hours, let it cool then wash it.

      I always do the blue stuff last so I can overdye some of my yellows for green

  2. I recall my father doing experiments involving metastannic acid (I think!) and I seem to recall there was indeed a nasty stink. Odd, as one forgets that metals have smells…

    • there was an episode of the bbc radio4 food programme where they experimented with how different metals effect the tastes of food, copper spoons they said were disguting and eveything tasted better from a gold spoon – we take so may things for granted that we just dont think about metal

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