You may remember that a while ago I posted about eco-dyeing some organic cotton scarves. They were meant to be Christmas gifts but time got away from me and then it started to seem too hard. The good news is that I finally got around to dyeing them. It was the cooler weather that did it. My brain started to work again and fingers got itchy with the need to create. I was back once more at the kitchen stove, boiling an enormous pot filled with onion skins and bundles of cotton scarves wrapped around copper rods. Woo-hoo!
I was hesitant about soaking the scarves in soy milk - I'd never done it before and didn't know how much to use or how long to leave it. So instead I made up a vinegar solution and soaked the scarves overnight (I think?! I was flying by the seat of my pants and didn't really take notes!). I've used vinegar in the past when working with commercial dyes. But now that I think about it, only to set the dye afterwards. Oops! On those occasions I used washing soda as the pre mordant. Oh well, carry on :o)
Eco dyeing combines two of my passions. Nature and craft. Foraging for leaves and then bundling them in cloth to create patterns and dye? It's alchemy. Pure and simple.
Being barefoot outdoors, breathing in fresh air and surrounded by space is medicine for my soul. I feel calm and grounded. I get so much pleasure wandering through the bush, searching for the right trees for my craft creations. Eco dyeing is teaching me to pay close attention to the natural world. To look at the individual trees and see different varieties instead of a sea of green. Now I am starting to recognise different trees. Olive, mulberry, kangaroo apple and cineria.
In spite of my pre mordanting mishap, I'm pretty happy with the result. I think the scarves look like beautiful autumn leaves. Perfect for this time of year!
After this successful dyeing I'm keen to try pre mordanting the cotton in soy milk and see if there are any differences. If I was being a good scientific crafter, I'd mordant some scarves in soy, some in vinegar, use the same leaf matter and set two different pots going at the same time. However, I'm not that scientific and I'm also really keen to try and get some purples and pinks in my next attempt. So science will just have to wait. The creative muse is a-calling!