Wool fabrics, pre-mordanted with tanin simmer-steep from sumac leaves, then mordanted with alum simmer-steep from grocery store alum and cream of tarter.
This is a post about my natural dyeing over the last week. Just warning you. Photos of domesticity coming up - clothes lines, cooking pots, etc. and way more words than usual.
What is simmer-steep? Cover the collected plant stuff with water, bring to a simmer, keep simmering for one hour, turn the heat off and allow the plants to come to a cool temp in the water. Takes about 24 hours. "tea" made from abundant plant material and boiling water to see if colour is released. From the left, pine needles from forest floor, blackberry brambles from the beach, crushed winterberries. Fabrics can be steeped in cool temps 24-48 hours. The length of time is important.
However, some natural dyes do require heat.
I've learned that sumac and willow only release their colours if heated with the fabrics and are allowed to cool with them. Goldenrod however, can do a cool or solar steep with good results. Willow on silk/wool blend with alum pre-mordant. Goldenrod on wool, linen, rayon and cotton with tanin (sumac) pre-mordant followed by an alum mordant. The pale fabric on the right is silk that had no mordant - as a test.
The goldenrod dye is still going strong, made three weeks ago!
(tanin pre-mordant is supposed to increase the ability for plant fibres like linen and cotton to accept the dye colour) sumac and willow on tanin and alum pre-mordanted fabrics - including wool, linen, and cotton. The sumac responded to the pre-mordants much better than the willow did. The brightly coloured piece of cloth is rayon that had been dyed with procion mx - and overdyed with the natural dyes. Some of the red from this fabric has bled into the wool during a pre-soak. Blackberry colour - After two simmers and one steep.
This post is really a note to self. I am keeping a record book with swatches, but this photo essay will also help me to remember what I've done. If you are doing natural dyeing this fall, as so many of us are, I hope that they help you as well. I am not an expert at this stuff however. I am a student.
Off to strain the brambles. Have a good day.