I am very excited about my dye results on cottons.
Last year when I was going to the resale shops more often I searched on the sale racks for cotton tops-blouses-in hopes to dye them and or eco print them and then post in my Etsy shop. I picked up mostly smaller sizes hoping to attract some younger people. Going through them this week I found two large pieces-one long sleeve knitted cotton, and a pretty cotton blouse.
I enjoy the surprises achieved with natural dyeing.
Last Saturday I grabbed a big paper bag and my scissors and collected ripe goldenrod flowers, they were at their prime and more of them this time- I collected enough to fill a water bath canner 3/4's full of the flowers. We had been predicted to get rain over the weekend so I wanted to gather before then.
Today, was my day to set up the dye pot.
It is always good to scour your wool or other fibers first to rid them of any oils etc, especially cottons and most especially pre made articles of clothing.
Most cottons if I am dyeing with muslin or quilt fabric I can usually just use synthrapol in a hot wash, but I have found from past cotton natural dyeing that after the synthrapol I also use the scour wash from Earth Hues and follow their instructions. Especially for clothing articles I do this extra step when natural dyeing.
To dye cotton:
I go through the scour process, then I set up the mordant (fixative) process used for cellulose fiber alum acetate which I have only found at Earth Hues so far, and when you purchase just ask for their print out of information. I have no affiliation with Earth Hues I just learned about them several years ago from other online dyers-and they are really helpful with answering your questions too.
Most resources just sell alum but there is an alum for wool and protein fibers and another alum for cellulose fibers.
As with my wool dyeing when I have the mordant bath set up, then I start heating up my dye bath. I covered the goldenrod with water with a bit above it-heat up slowly and don't let it go to a boil. At least in my experiences dyeing with goldenrod for several years now I get a clearer yellow with this process. This takes just about the same amount of time as the mordant process.
When the time is up on the mordant bath I used a designated spoon for dyeing and took out the blouses and placed into a designated dye colander in the sink. Squeeze to drain. Again as in wool some instructions say to rinse and some do not-I decided not to.
For the dye pot strain out the goldenrod flowers. It is too hard for me to handle these big heavy pots now so I have a spoon that I just scoop out all the plant material. I get all of the big stuff but not all of the finer pieces.
I then placed the cotton blouse in first and kept an eye on til I loved the color and then removed it.
I then added in the tannish-pink knitted cotton shirt and added that to the dye pot-since it looked like there was lots of dye color left.
and wow-happy happy dancin with the results. I squeezed out the blouses-not twist-and laid them out on thick towels to dry-I will change those up til they are dry. and like the wool dye project-I won't rinse these out for around 5 days.
Here are some photos-just click to enlarge
I was really surprised with the pretty color achieved going over a tan-pinkish color knit cotton top. Now to wait and see how they dry and rinse out.
I had read a bit about natural dye extracts on other posts but have not tried it-but that's next. These are all natural dye plant material dye stuffs that are either in liquid form or a powdered form. Earth Hues carries several-some are pretty pricey some not-but they do dye allot of materials. On my last order I decided to buy one that will give reds. One also needs to pick up the calcium carbonate for reds. That one I need to plan ahead as reading the instructions you mix it with water and let it sit overnite before using. I may just do that tomorrow since the guys are going fishing then.
I decided to set up a seperate post for everyone to link up on with your Creativity Wednesdays-please link up here