magazine, Interweave Press LLC. Not to be reprinted. All rights reserved.
ed with iron, it yields sge green;ordnted with lu nd iron, ityields n olive green. Alu sulte,lu cette, nd iron re the only ordnts tht I use. Chroe, cop-per, nd tin re toxic, nd I choose tovoid the. Vt dyes, like substntive dyes,need no ordnt to help x color tothe ber, but they re not wter sol-uble nd require specil process todye the ber. Te blue dyes o indigond wod nd the purple o certinollusks re vt dyes.
Know your fber
Is it protein (nil) or cellulose(plnt)? Protein bers include l-pc, ngor, cel, cshgor, csh-ere, dog, ll, ohir, qiviut, silk,nd wool. Cellulose bers re cotton,hep, jute, linen, nettle, pper, ry-on, rie, lyocell, nd bsketkingterils such s rttn, willow, splitwood, rf, nd sweetgrss. Te typeo ber will indicte how it should bescoured nd how it should be or-dnted. Protein bers cn be hredby substnces with high pH (lkline)such s sod sh ( cooningredient in household detergents).
Scouring (or wshing) is ipor-tnt or reoving ny dirt, lno-lin, sizing, spinning oil, or othersubstnce tht y prevent thor-ough dye dherence. Orvus Pste,Synthrpol, ild unscented deter-gents, or neutrl sops re ll co-on scouring gents. Tese productsdo not contin bleches, brighteners,or ny other dditives, produce littleo, hve neutrl pH, nd re seor both plnt nd nil bers.Fill dyepot with enough hot w-ter so the goods cn ove reely. Dis-solve the scouring gent in seprtecontiner with hot wter nd dd itto the dyepot, stirring well. Plce thegoods in the dyepot, creully rott-ing the nd king sure they ll getscoured. Rinse the goods well in w-ter o the se teperture or slight-ly cooler, but be creul not to subjectwool or silk to drstic teperturechnges tht cn dge the bers orcuse elting. Do not llow the goodsto cool down in the bth s this willredeposit dirt onto the goods. Forcellulose bers (especilly cotton),use sod sh to help with the scour-ing process—dd bout
cup o sodsh or every 8 ounces o goods. Donot use sod sh on protein bers sit will hr the ber.
I use lu sulte or protein -bers nd lu cette or cellulosebers. Oten your supplier will pro-vide instructions or how uch or-dnt to use. I you re eger to begindyeing but hve no lu, you cn usepickling lu ro your spice cbinet(it’s ood grde nd thereore oreexpensive, but it will work). Use ny-where ro 2.5 to 5 tblespoons perpound o ber. Dissolve the lu in sll glss continer o boiling wter,dd it to the dyepot, dd the goods,nd grdully bring the pot to si-er, holding it t sier or nhour. urn o the het nd let thepot cool overnight. In the orning,rinse the ordnted goods in wtero the se teperture. Your goodsre now redy to dye. You cn sveyour ordnting wter to use lt-er (though you will hve to rereshit with ore ordnt) or discrd itsely (see the box bove).
Know your water
While it is iportnt to know yourwter, I lwys suggest tht you rsttry the wter tht coes out o yourtp. Are you hppy with the color re-sults? Ech nturl dye is unique ndhs its own idiosyncrsies: soe workbest in hrd wter, soe in sot w-ter, nd with soe, it doesn’t see totter. In ddition to being used s ordnt, iron is pririly known orits bility to sdden or odiy color.I you hve iron in your wter, it willodiy the color whether you wnt itto or not. Cochinel, very sensitive
Just because it's a natural dye
doesn’t mean there are nosaety concerns. Protect yoursel as well as the environment. Foryoursel, use saety glasses, rubber gloves, a nonpermeable apron,and a dust mask or respirator. For the environment, neutralize dyebaths i necessary be-ore disposing. Use pH testing papers (see below) to test the pH levels o the dyebath.Add vinegar to a dyebath that is greater than 7 (basic) and ammonia to a dyebath that islower than 7 (acidic) to neutralize it. Make sure to keep small children and animals awayrom your dye area. Keep your dye utensils and pots separate rom your eating utensilsand pots. Keep all ood away rom your dye area.
Dyeing safelyMaterials list
The potential of hydrogen
(or pH) indicates the concentra-tion o hydrogen in a solution on a scale rom 0 to 14, with 7being neutral. The more hydrogen a substance contains, the moreacidic it is (low pH, such as vinegar); the less hydrogen, the more alkaline it is (high pH,such as ammonia).You can buy pH papers at pool or science-lab supply stores to test the pH level o your dyebath.
• Safety glasses or
• Rubber gloves• Nonpermeable
• Dust mask or
• Measuring spoons• Pickle jars or
• Stainless steel
• Stir stick or long
• Strainer• Heating system• Access to hot and
• Drop cloths• Gram scale• Dyestuff • Mordant
(or protein orcellulose fbers)
agent (such asOrvus Paste or
Synthrapol)• Drying rack
• Ammonia• Vinegar• pH testing papers
What is pH?