søndag 2. oktober 2011

Plant dyeing

My daughter and I did some dyeing on wool and silk this summer.
We used Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis) (Marikåpe) to dye with.

We chopped the leaves a little. If you shall do this properly, and get the best result possible, you need to boil and simmer the leaves in water first, then strain it before you put the yarn into the boiler.
We were in a hurry, so we just put it all together.  The main problem with our method was to separate the leaves from the wool later...

The easiest and most common materials to plant dye is wool and silk.
They are both animal fibres and they react similar to dyes.
Here's wool yarn, wool, tied silk fabric and silk fabric.

The dyeing process goes like this:

1. Soak the material in lukewarm water for at least two hours.
2. Dissolve the alum (alun) in a small amount of water. Then add the rest of the water. Heat to 50 degrees Celcius. Put the material in the boiler and continue heating till 90 degrees. (Just below the boiling point.) Let the material simmer at this temperature for one hour. Let it cool down and press carefully out as much water as possible.
3. Make the dye bath by putting the plant material in water, heat to the boiling point and let it simmer for two hours. Remove the plant material and cool down to 50 degrees Celsius.
4. Add the wool/silk into the color bath. Heat to 90 degrees and keep that temperature for at least one hour. Let the color bath cool down. Preferably over the night.
5. Wash the year/fabric carefully in cold water and let it dry.

How much plant material?
-This is different from plant to plant. A plant dyeing book will help you with this.
If you live in Norway, there is some very good, old books (from the 70's and 80's) on the subject.
I recently bought this american (?) book, Harvesting Color by Rebecca Burgess.  It has lovely inspiring photos and recipes for the different plants, but a lot of them are native american plants that we don't find here in Norway. Her er link til en svensk/norsk bok.

We used a 5 litre boiler for 100 grams of textile material. (A 10 litre container is the best.)

This is a recipe I found at Lyngheisenteret:
100 g tørkede plantedeler
100 g garn eller stoff (ull eller silke)
5 liter vann
16 g alun

The textile material should be moved carefully around in the boiler all of the time to get an even result. We didn't, so the fabric to the left has some variations. The fabric to the right is tied with string to get a tie-dye result.

The finished yarn and fabric smells wonderfully!

My next projects are dyeing with mushrooms and working out how to dye cotton. This is considered very difficult, but it must be possible. I have seen it done, so I will figure out how.
This blog, Naturally Dyeing, shows several examples of dyes on cotton, but does not have any recipes.
At the moment, I'm trying to get some dye mushrooms picked and dried before the winter is here.

We did some plant and mushroom dyeing with our students some weeks ago. Here's a link to our class blog. The students have written an article (in Norwegian) were you can see lovely photos and read about the project.
P.S. I think the students will appreciate a comment from you!

4 kommentarer:

  1. Soppfarging blir spennande!

  2. Kjempespennende med naturfarging! Kult at du prøver det, og for et nydelig bilde av jenta med gryta :)

  3. looks very inspiring! your daughter is só helpful and sweet!

  4. Veldig spennende!
    Har så lyst å prøve meg på plantefarging. =)
    må bare lese meg litt opp før jeg begynner å prøve...

    god mandag!