Monday, February 18, 2008

Tequila Sunrise

I've been spinning up samples from that big dyeing project I did about 10 days ago. My plan was to dye four different mixed-fiber blended tops with acid and natural dyes, to determine what kind of results I'd achieve with each dye. The challenge is that protein and cellulose fibers usually need different types of dyes and so these mixed-fiber blends would take up each kind of dye in unusual ways.

After I began spinning the samples, I realized that what I thought was going to be the cotton/silk blend, turned out to be 100% cotton, and the silk/bamboo blend turned out to be 100% silk. I am awaiting the newly-shipped blends from my supplier so I can continue my experiment as originally planned. Nevertheless, I completed the samples with the 100% cotton and 100% silk tops and those pictures are shown here.

These first three photos, on the left, are 100% cotton samples. The sample on top was dyed with acid dyes -- interesting, because dyers don't normally use acid dyes on cellulose fibers, but the results were noteworthy. Bottom line: the cotton took up the acid dyes and with steam setting, the colors are fast.

The middle sample was dyed with natural dyes (fustic, madder, cochineal and logwood gray), and mordanted for protein fibers (i.e., with alum sulfate). Still quite a bit of dye takeup even though cotton is a cellulose fiber.

This third sample was dyed with natural dyes and mordanted for cellulose fibers with alum acetate. There was even more dye takeup, as I expected with the cellulose mordant.

The next set of photos is of 100% bombyx silk samples. In the top photo on the right, the sample was dyed with acid dyes, which are a typical dye class for silk fiber.

The second silk sample was dyed with natural dyes, and mordanted for protein fibers with alum sulfate. There was less dye takeup than with acid dyes, even though silk is a protein fiber and this sample was mordanted for protein.

The last silk sample was dyed with natural dyes and mordanted for cellulose fibers, with alum acetate. There was an amazing amount of takeup even though the silk was mordanted as if for cellulose fibers. This last sample was also spun in singles, rather than 2-ply. I am experimenting with handspun silk singles, which I will eventually weave with, to see how well the handspun singles works as woven warp.

I'll be moving onto another project until the new fiber blends arrive, then I'll complete this project. I did already dye and spin the merino blend fibers, but I want to do a four-fiber comparison before uploading photos.
Meanwhile, it was my birthday today and I worked on my business plan for my textile art. It was a highly productive and fun day, lousy weather notwithstanding.


Sweet Irene said...

Happy birthday, Connie. You did have an unusual way to celebrate it, dying cotton and silk in all sorts of dyes. Do you notice a lot of difference between the individual batches that you make using the same process on the same material, or does it not matter?

I must remember to add your website to my blog roll today. I keep meaning to do it and then forget. If I forget it again, will you be so kind as to remind me?

Connie Rose said...

Thanks Irene. The differences between batches are due to different dye classes and/or mordants. Also, if I repeated colorways in a separate dye session, it is likely there would be color differences. I'll see for sure when I get those other fibers and dye the same colors as recently.
Normally, though, when I dye fiber or yarn, I dye enough at one time so there won't be large color variations in the finished piece. You know how yarn manufacturers always tell you to get enough product because dye lots often change, there's no guarantee the next lot of the same colorway will be the same. I notice this, too, when I buy already-dyed fibers for resale.
P.S. Don't forget to add me to your blogroll!
Have a lovely Tuesday.

Sue O'Kieffe said...

Happy belated last day of this generation, Connie. The colors of your yarn just fill me with so much excitement. I want to sleep under a blanket of your bamboo yarn. Folks, if you think it looks good on the screen, you ought to feel it. Oh heaven!

Sweet Irene said...

Hee,hee, thanks for reminding me!