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Posts tagged ‘silk scarf’

Vintage Kimono finally loves lavender

What do you do when your eco-printing results flop big time?

I’d forgotten just how disappointing that can be.  My latest creative efforts have been very satisfying, so I felt a bit slugged when today’s experiment went south.  In one day, I went from anticipation, to disappointment, to determination, to delight. Here’s how.

I’m in a real creative phase at the moment, and this morning woke up itching to dye something.  I rummaged in one of my cupboards and came across a brown paper bag stuffed to bursting with some old (literally – they’re vintage) linings from kimonos that a friend of mine gave me a couple of years ago to eco-print.

kimono silk.jpg

Using one oblong of silk that had once graced the inside of a kimono (and perhaps a geisha’s) sleeve, I set about eco-printing it with some kale slaw mix from Aldi, as I figured all the ingredients in that had potential to give up their dye.  I also threw on some cut red onion and a few lychee skins for good measure.

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All excited, I wrapped it tightly in a bundle and waited for it to steam.  Well, I didn’t wait, I distracted myself with another project until the timer went off.

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Like a kid in a toy shop, when it was cool enough, I unravelled the string and swept away the damp plant material … only to be massively disappointed.

The kale hadn’t left any marks, the lychees, only an imprint. The only marks given up had come reluctantly from the red cabbage, beetroot and onion.  After hanging the soaking strip out to dry, I was comforted to note a slight oxidation on the lychees, but overall, I had to admit that this wasn’t my most spectacular result.  The strongest part of the print was the smell – reminiscent of vegetable soup.

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As I had to do the weekly shopping, I set off to the shops in town, all the time pondering in the back of my mind how I could do the vintage silk more justice.  Cruising past the vegetables in IGA, my little eye spied a large red cabbage.  Perfect!  I brought it home heavily disguised as family food, then purloined it for a higher purpose. I must admit, knowing my two boys’ (husband and teenage son) taste in brassicas, it wouldn’t be hugely missed.

A few hours later of multi-tasking: dying with preparing the family dinner – which I didn’t think would be a problem with this eco-dye, considering the most toxic chemical I used to shift the dye colour was cooking salt – I eventually brought into life two unique creations.

The first was chicken Mediterranean style cooked with mirepoix, capsicum, passata and Moroccan spices which looked and tasted rather good, if you’ll pardon the self-praise.

The second was the rather gorgeous cabbage-dyed vintage kimono silk.

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I know, it looks like something I could have dragged out of a river in this photo, but as you’ll see shortly, it dried beautifully.

One amusing result was the queen’s head which imprinted from one of the 50 cent pieces that I ‘shirboried’ before dyeing.  I think the coin must have had a chemical on its surface, because the bright purple image is a lot sharper than the other shades of lavender from the cabbage.  Here it is directly after untying the bundle. Once dried and ironed, I noticed some interesting and unexpected small dark brown oval marks on the fabric.  It occurred to me suddenly that these marks were where the lychee skin had been, and it was possibly tannin from the skin that had highlighted the dye in those areas!

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Finally, here is the result, showing just how beautiful natural dyeing can be, especially when imparted onto a natural material, and in particular, one that has aged as gracefully as the Japanese lady who once wore it.

red-cabbage-kimono

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Dyeing to show you Tee and Scarf

After about a year of drought in the creative department, I am happy to say I feel a sense of surge of passion for dyeing and felting again!  Here is a sneak peek of two eco-dyeing projects from yesterday. They’re still drying and will be washed and re-dryed to make sure there’s no mordant left before wearing, but I wanted to show you the results.

I used saved onion skins and various eucalyptus leaves from my garden.

This one is the silk scarf, still wet and just unbundled. The reds of the onion skins are showing well!

This one is the silk scarf, still wet and just unbundled. The reds of the onion skins are showing well!

Tee shirt onion and euc

This one is a close up of the tee shirt – showing how well the eucalyptus leaves and onion skins have developed. I also love how there are dark patches with white lines, from the string I tied the bundle with!

Eco-dye results of alum, tea & iron on silk

After waiting for the scarves to cool, I unwrapped them, picked off the leaves, hung them out to dry – and then rinsed them in water with splash of vinegar (silk likes that) and finally ironed them dry.

Scarf 1

Although the kale didn’t make any difference as far as I could see, the tea leaves left nice golden brown marks along the scarf, and the ends that were on the outside of the bundle, where they touched the rusty mozzie coil holder, had turned dark grey.  The effect is very pleasing:

Scarf over-dyed with tea on eucalyptus dyed silk. Dark grey spots from rust.

Scarf over-dyed with tea on eucalyptus dyed silk. Dark grey spots from rust.

Scarf 2

I really like how this one turned out.  While the sage leaves didn’t really leave any colour, they did act as pale resists in some places.  However, the roibus created some vivid russet marking and the black tea produced grey.

Scarf dyed with tea, roibus, iron, rust and alum

Scarf dyed with tea, roibus, iron, rust and alum

Where the dye-bath (tea, rusty iron, alum) saturated the material, it stained it a lovely dark grey-black.  There is a pattern that repeats, showing how it was folded, and the bull dog clips acted as strong resists that left clear marks on the background.

Scarf freshly unbundled, before ironing showing repeating pattern created by folding material pre-dyeing.

Scarf freshly unbundled, before ironing showing repeating pattern created by folding material pre-dyeing.

This scarf has given me the confidence to experiment further with different dye-baths, and eco-print materials and mordants!

Eco dyed scarf on Jill

Jill has been trying out my eucalyptus dyed silk scarf while I’ve been at work.

She even took some pictures of herself, cleverly working out how to use the timer button on the camera.

Jill may look like a dummy but she’s quite smart lol.

Here are some pics of her wearing the scarf in different ways, showcasing the lovely warm light browns and beiges that the eucalyptus and vinegar produced on the silk.

Not bad for a first attempt at dying.  (I need to work on my ironing skills though.)

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