Thursday, June 20, 2013

Failure and Fun

Some thoughts and pictures from my recent dyeing experiment:

Because I didn't want to throw it out, unused cabbage originally meant for cole slaw became the item of inquiry in my first eco-dye experiment.

First step: slicing up the cabbage

I had just added a bit of vinegar and the simmering water changed from blue to light pink.  

I put a piece of cheesecloth, a fat quarter of PFD fabric and a folded fat quarter of PFD fabric into the pot.

Despite my best efforts and the gorgeous fuchsia color in the pot, the experiment didn't do anything but stink up my kitchen for an afternoon and leave the barest hint of pink on the cloth.  I'm going to have to investigate what I missed and/or did wrong. Should I NOT have added the vinegar?  Would the original blue color been more colorfast?  Should I have added MORE vinegar?  Would another mordant have been better?  Did I even need another mordant since I was using an aluminum pot? Questions, questions, questions.

Not to be discouraged, I took the cloth today and spread upon it some new materials. There are zinnia flowers, stems, and leaves (just cut but past their prime), rose petals (stripped from the flowers and scattered on the cloth), freshly clipped geraniums, and a few geranium petals I had gathered earlier in the week and frozen.  Can the failure cloth turn into something new and lovely?

The colorful array of plant matter I'm experimenting with now. 

Everything's misted with vinegar and ready for rolling.
All bundled up and secured, handy vinegar mister standing by.  If you squint, I think you can tell there's the faintest of pinks in the fabric.
India Flint suggests that fabric should be allowed to rest at least one week and up to one month.  It's wait, wait, wait and then see.  Waiting may be tough; the frozen geranium petals were oozing color even as I misted the cloth with vinegar the first time.  I'm so curious to see what happens.


Cindy Green said...

How cool! Love it! (I don't think I could wait either...)

Natalya Aikens said...

oh the anticipation! did you seal it in a jar? wrap it in plastic? better put a date on the calendar or you'll forget it!

Vivien Zepf said...

I put the bundle into a plastic baggie and put it in my dye pot. It's out of the way and also out of sight, eliminating some of the temptation of peeking too early!