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Posts tagged ‘tea’

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-dyeing silk with alum, tea, iron

Today’s experiment took me beyond my comfort zone of familiar eucalyptus.

Scarf 1

Using the golden eucalypt-dyed silk scarf from yesterday’s experiment which turned out very similar to my first attempt, I decided to over-print with some leaves I had on hand.

First of all, I dipped the scarf in an alum solution and ironed it dry.

To this I added tea leaves and kale leaf pieces on half of the scarf.  I folded it and rolled it tightly on a tea tree twig. I tied it tightly with twine (tighter than yesterday  in the hope that if any leaf prints came out, they’d be in better contact with the silk).

Scarf 2

For the second silk scarf, I scattered roibus tea leaves and black tea leaves from my cupboard, and some fresh sage leaves from the herb garden.  I folded this in half and half again several times until I had a small square that I secured with bull-dog clips.

The dye pot

Using an enamel bowl (kindly donated by my lovely neighbour), I boiled 4 teabags and some rusty iron nails, as I wanted to produce a dark brown/black.  For good measure, I added what was left of the alum solution from Scarf 1.

I stood a rusty mozzie (mosquito) coil holder in the pot and put Scarf 1 on top.  I immersed Scarf 2 into the dye liquid.

Black dye pot

Covered enamel dye bath

Covered enamel dye bath

Covering the pot with aluminium foil, I boiled it for a total of 65 minutes.

Then I took them out to cool and at the moment they are hanging up drying.

Two bundles drying in sink

Two bundles drying in sink

I’ll post the results tomorrow.

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