Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tequila Sunrise, Part Deux

Finally, this dye sampling project is complete! Several dyeing sessions and lots of spinning between other projects, but here it is.

The idea was to dye four mixed-fiber tops with both acid and natural dyes, to see the results -- which blend would take acid dyes better (acid for the protein fiber in each top) and which would take natural dyes better (for the cellulose fiber in each top). I used both dye classes at a strength of DOS 1 (depth of shade), which is generally a medium-small amount of dye.

In all samples, ACID dye results are on the left, NATURAL DYES/PROTEIN MORDANT are in the middle, and NATURAL DYES/CELLULOSE MORDANT are on the right.

This first batch above is Merino/Tencel 50/50. I wouldn't have thought the sample with natural dyes/cellulose mordant would take so much dye, with 50% merino. Personally, I like all these samples and would consider using any of the dye/mordant combos again depending on what outcome I was going for.

This second batch above is Merino/Bamboo 60/40. Again, there was far more dye takeup than I'd expected for natural dyes/cellulose mordant, with 60% merino in the blend. As with the merino/tencel, I like all the samples and would consider any of the dye/mordant combos for future dyeing projects.

This next batch above is Silk/Cotton 55/45. I really loved the two samples with natural dyes and would easily try either of them again. I probably wouldn't use acid dyes again on this blend because of the small amount of dye takeup, even though the blend is 55% silk and normally silk takes acid dyes beautifully. The cotton overshadowed in this case.


This last batch is Silk/Bamboo 60/40. As with the silk/cotton blend, the acid dyes hardly took at all so I wouldn't use them again with this blend. However, both the natural dye samples turned out well.

Overall I was interested in the more orange tones achieved with natural dyes using alum sulfate for protein fibers, compared with using alum acetate for cellulose fibers.

So now it's on to something else -- in fact, I am spinning up some 2-ply tussah silk, white, that I plan to use later on for a painted warp project. And I am teaching a Luxury Fiber Spinning class this weekend and my personal goal is to spin all those different fibers as singles. I'll post results next week or later.

5 comments:

Sweet Irene said...

You have to be a regular chemist to do all that dyeing that you do. I suppose you also keep a diary with samples and notes on what you used and how much of it. I guess you always want to be able to recreate a batch as close as possible to the original, although I realize variety does occur.

It must be wonderful to add the yarn to the batch of dye and see it absorb the color. Does it take long for it to dry?

Connie Rose said...

I'm good about keeping notes when it is something I want to replicate later on. For this project I didn't keep particularly extensive notes but each skein is marked with fiber content and type of dye/mordant. Most of the dyeing I do is where I paint the dyes on the fiber, rather than immerse the fiber in a pot of dye. Still it IS fun to watch the dye strike the fiber. It doesn't take long to dry -- I either hang it outside in the shade if it is warm out, or I hang it from my living room ceiling fan and it gets heat right off the fireplace below.

Michael said...

These are beautiful! I don't do a lot of mixed-fiber stuff, but I'm glad to see the results so I'll know. Have you tried fiber-reactive dyes with similar batches? I know that they can be used for either protein or cellulose, although I've hesitated to use them on my silk because of the chemistry of some of them.

Michael said...

Oh - forgot to ask - WHICH natural dyes? Those are great colors, particularly the purple/magenta shade.

Connie Rose said...

I haven't used fiber reactive dyes much although I keep thinking about adding them to my arsenal of options. I've seen some gorgeous shibori (not woven shibori) on silk with fiber reactive dyes.

The natural colors I used were fustic, madder, and logwood gray with cochineal added to get that purple. And I use extracts, not the actual dyestuffs. I am more and more impressed with what's possible with natural dyes, the longer I use them. But I don't think they'll replace my love of acid dyes for silks.