Friday, 5 August 2011

Solar dyeing update - first results!!

31st July
The silk hankies in the jar with the poppy petals look as if they have taken up loads of colour - a rich reddish purple - and the dye liquid still looks  strong. I would like to take the hankies out and add fresh ones but I cant get the lid off!!

I took the first batch of fibres - some silk cocoons - from the tall jar with jostaberry and grape pulp (frozen). They were a good rich pink but went slightly mauve when gently rinsed in cold tap water

I set up another jar with jostaberry pulp - the skins and pips of beries that had been boiled and sieved (for making jam) - not frozen this time. I added about 5g alum dissolved in a little boiling water. No cream of tartar as I reckon the berries are so acidic the alum should work fine without it. Then I added some wet degummed silk cocoons and just enough water to fill the jar - it is a thick soup-consistency.

5th August
The silk in the new Jostaberry jar already looks a bright pink. It has been on the patio table all week. I moved the other jars out of the greenhouse to the table as the grapevine in the greenhouse is now making it quite shady, so there will be more light on the table.

I noticed that in the tall Jostaberry and grape skin jar the remaining fibre nearest to the pulp looked more colored than the fibre near the top. I took out all the fibre and most of the pulp and rearanged it in layers in the jar so that more fibre would be close to the actual pulp.

At the top of the achillea jar the fibres that were not completely submerged had a thick grey slimy film over them. I scraped most of it off, moved the fibres around and pushed them further under the liquid. The fibres that had been closest to the flowers were a pale yellow.

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