So a while back, I posted on Instagram about an upcoming natural dye test I was conducting. My studiomate Jean Haley (jeanhaleydesign.com) gave me some of her weld plants to try out on some of my yarn. I wanted to see how the yellow weld dye would look on tencel, and what it would look like when overdyeing indigo from my own garden. I was so excited to show you the results! Until...I got the results.
I think the best way to show you what happened is to show you my second round of tests. I recently did the same experiment, and this is the difference:
So what happened?
The samples on the left are from the first test, which I did at home. The samples on the right I did in the studio. It didn't even occur to me at the time, but my water at home comes from a well, and we have high iron content in our water (the kind that turns your sinks and toilets orange). Iron impacts natural dye colors, making them more brown and subdued. I was expecting something more bright, which is what I got in the studio's city water.
Not that there's anything wrong with iron in natural dye! I actually like the colors I achieved with my results from home, especially the overdyed indigo greens. And iron assists in making a natural dye color more washfast and lightfast. But lesson learned: the source of your water does matter!
Meanwhile, I ran a couple other color tests...
These are tests of cochineal, madder root, and weld. They turned out really nice on the tencel!
Jean and I now have a thriving vat in the studio made of our own homegrown indigo. I am very excited by all the possibilities in natural color I have already achieved in these tests.
I'm hoping in time to offer a naturally-dyed line of colors in my shop.
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