Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A bed of roses

I have been doing a lot of natural dyeing, but haven't seen roses mentioned anywhere as a source of a GOOD dye. A few places mention them as not being lightfast, and giving a range of pale pinks. I had 2 dozen roses starting to wilt, though, in a lovely deep red tone, so I decided to try, I figured, what can it hurt, right? Most flowers give the best colors if you steep them sun tea style, too much heat can destroy the pigment.
BRIEF TUTORIAL (not meant to be a natural dyeing tute, just how to get the rose color.)

I took my 2 dozen petals ,put them in a BIG jar, crushed them up with a fondue fork (hey, it reached to the bottom of the jar, ok!!) and covered them with water, put the lid on the jar and left it outside for 4 days, shaking it every day to prevent mold. The 5th day, I dyed some pre-mordanted fibers with the resulting liquid. I mordanted with tin for 1/2 hour, rinsed VERY well, put the fiber in lingerie bags , and put the fiber, the dyewater AND ROSES from the jar, and enough water to fill the crockpot into my crockpot and set it on low. (the lingerie bag was to keep the rose petal bits from getting meshed into the fiber). The silk cap was done in 3 minutes of dyeing. The dark linen was done in 1/2 hour, two days later (I poured the dyebath back into the jar and let it sit some more. The dye got darker, and is STILL not exhausted.) After the first one (the sock yarn, 15 minutes) turned out so well, I just kept putting stuff in . Here's what I got


Superwash merino

Silk cap

merino/seacell (started out life natural tan)

Merino/bamboo sock yarn

tussah silk (started out life natural tan)

I tried some soysilk, and it literally did not take up ANY DYE AT ALL. I left it in overnight, even, and nothing happened.

I called the florist and asked if they added any preservatives or dyes to their roses, since I figured that they MUST have added dyes, since this is well over a pound of fiber, and flowers usually need up to 400% by weight for deep tones. I had 3 oz (fresh) of roses. They assured me that indeed, they did not add anything to their roses. I doubt that claim, but I'll let it go, I just won't count on being able to duplicate it.


Blogger Caitlan said...

The ones that were tan before are wonderful, especially the silk one!

5:03 PM  

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