Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dying with Herbs

I have been preparing samples for a presentation out at Log Cabin Vilage this Saturday (October 19) on dying fabric with herbs. These have included flowers, roots, stems, and fruit. Many of them have been really successful in producing a rich color while others have produced what my wife likes to call yellow, more of an off white really at times though.

Mainly I've been dying cotton but I also tried a wool swatch.  The difference between the wool and cotton is really obvious. The cotton turned a nice red while the wool is more of a light pink, both dyed in beet juice.

Much of what I've been using to dye has been locally harvested from around the area but a few things had to be bought such as the safflower and turmeric.  These were interesting to compare since the safflower has been used for dying for centuries as a dye and the turmeric has typically, at least in the west, used for eating.  The color of the turmeric however was a brighter yellow but fainter than the safflower which was a more orangeish yellow but set better. One of the less reliable dyes was the mesquite which bore only a faint off white instead of the blue one of the sources said it would. Then again it did not describe how to achieve the blue color either so I had to guess based off of other methods of similar material.

For any interested, the presentation will be at the Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth on University Drive just south of I-30 and the Trinity River. There is a fee to get into the village but there are many more presentations besides mine to go see there.

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