dyeing, fiber art, Slow cloth

Dyepot and bundle experiments

My new studio space

My new studio. The lighting needs serious improvement, but other than that it is a much better use for this space. The aluminum foil draped over my weaving keeps the cats away from it – they are terrified of the sound of aluminum foil for some reason. Maybe it sounds like some predator coming for them.

Ornamental grape leaves for the dyepotSaturday I pulled out some ornamental grapevines that are invasive in my yard and decided to try a dyepot with the leaves. Then I remembered the frozen avocado pits and peels my friend Leslie saved for me, and I decided to do two more dyepots – a crockpot with just the pits and a stainless steel pot with just the peels. I decided to overdye some of the silk and wool fabrics that I dyed in India’s class (ones which did not come out so great), and I had a bag of cotton fabrics that I had previously mordanted with alum and dried.

Wool bundle 1 (top)This square was one of the earliest bundles from India’s class and it didn’t take up a lot of dye then. I stitched on it with silk thread, but I was never satisfied with it. I rolled it up with these plants from my front yard, which include crepe myrtle blossoms, plantain leaves, and yarrow. I didn’t include the maple or cherry leaf in the photo. The bottom bundle was an undyed strip of wool wrapped around a stick with grape leaves rolled inside. The grape and plantain leaves did not print, but the dyepot was a success. I got a very rich olive brown color with no mordants. The spots are from the crepe myrtle blossoms. I tossed several bundles into this grape leaf pot.

Wool bundle 1 unwrapped

A tiny silk bundle folded over yoshina cherry leaves and dyed in the grape leaf pot gave me delicate but definite prints.

Silk bundle 1silk bundle 1 unwrapped

One of the squares that I did in India’s class was wool with a silk fabric stitched onto it, and for some reason it didn’t take up much dye (Link to photo: lower left corner). I cut it into quarters. One small bundle wrapped with silk thread and a yellow maple leaf on the wool side went into each dyepot, with one left out for comparison. Below are the pieces dyed in the avocado pit and avocado peel dyes. The pits produced a lighter, peachier color than the peels. I loved the silk thread color that came from the pits.

Three similar bundlesAvocado dye experiment

Below on the left: All four on the silk side, avocado dyes on the top row, the grape leaf and undyed segment on the bottom row. Below on the right: All four on the wool/leaf side with the grape leaf and undyed segment on the bottom row. What I learned: use a different variety of maple leaf, but in general this wool was not good for leaf prints.

Dye experimentDye experiemnt

Here are some unbundled cotton fabrics mordanted with alum that I dyed in the avocado pots. The white on the bottom is the original fabric, shown for comparison. The peels produced a grayer color. I tossed a good-sized splash of white vinegar in the pots after I turned off the heat.

Avocado dyed fabrics

Okay, that’s enough for now!

4 thoughts on “Dyepot and bundle experiments”

  1. Love your new studio. And I really enjoy seeing your process. Thanks for sharing. Miss seeing you, Lorrie
    PS, we’re doing a Holiday shelf special at the gallery. $50 a month for Oct, Nov, Dec and 15% commission with no contract. If you’re interested let me know, it’s for one 7 foot shelf

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    1. Thanks, Lorrie. It is heartening that you want me back! 🙂 However, I think that I’m going to take a long break from selling, and any group activity in general. I’ll still promote the gallery and visit as often as I can!

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  2. success and less so of class bundles frequently depends on the timing of their immersion in a pot – i try to manage it so that they all get similar cooking times but it might happen that some are last-minute additions to a pot, in which case they might not have got the maximum bang for their buck…in any case over-dyeing is a good way to go [or magic potion dip!]

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    1. I figured that it was due more to not bundling it tight enough. My grip is not very good and was probably a little bit slacker than it should have been. As I realized it and tightened up over the days I got better prints. I find that overdyeing is fascinating anyway, since I’m not after anything predictable. Plus, I really think that the thickness and the weave of that wool was not a good choice. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with silk and a finer wool.

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