The Handwork teacher

I am a mother to two beautiful girls and I teach Handwork and Fine Arts in our local waldorf charter school in Arizona.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

it's a plant dye yarn sunday

I am getting ready for plant dying with the 3rd and 5th grade.
I have to test out my methods of plant dying before working with the kids.

so here are some results

I HATE Alkanet.....if someone knows how to use it....please let me know....I only got gray
I LOVE LOVE LOVE- Brazil wool (no longer available due to deforestation) but I had a bag from last year...that is the blue I have hanging
I love- Cutch, Madder, Cochineal, Tuneric, red onion skin, and Nettle


Helen said...

Hi you can extract the colour form alkanet using either acetone or alcohol. The acetone in nail polish remover will do it but of course it smells very strongly and you need to do it in a a very well ventilated area or outdoors, For 100g of alkanet pour on 250ml bottle of nail polish remover containing acetone. You will see a red dye run out. After about 15 minutes top up with water, add premordanted fibres and heat gently to just under the simmer and maintain for one hour. You should get a slaty blue.

Poppy and Mei said...

Beautiful! XXxx.

Teaching Handwork said...

thank you Helen :)

my7kids said...

Alkanet is a litmus indicator. In acidic conditions (which wool loves), it will produce tones that are redder the more acidic the environment (Ph of 5.5 or lower).

In almost-neutral PH (around 7), you will get gray tones.

In alkaline (basic) environments which plant fibers like, you will get more purple and then progressively blue-r the more alkaline. Some dyers use a ph of about 10. Lye is the strongest alkaline known, at 15, which is dangerous (even deadly). And alkalines can destroy the proteins in wool.

Some other natural substances that are litmus indicators: Black cherries, red cabbage, cranberries!

Lotsa luck!

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Angela Mobley said...

Also careful with turmeric. I would overdye turmeric for greens, but on its own it quickly is definitely not lightfast.

llawrence said...

Hi, how did you get that nice blue from the brazilwood, please? Was that pH handling, or some other method? Thank you!