Monday, 14 September 2015

Natural dyes - red cabbage results

And here are the results for the red cabbage dye. First a quick reminder of the plan. For more info see this post.

I used about 3/4 of a red cabbage, chopped finely, simmered for just over an hour. Then I divided the dye into three, added vinegar to one third and baking powder to the other. At some point (I don't quite remember when) I googled baking powder and realised that as well as bicarbonate of soda, which is alkaline, it also contains cream of tartar which is acidic, thus making it ineffective as a modifier. To correct this I added a good dose of bicarbonate of soda. The vinegar solution turned a lovely pink, the baking powder went a bit greeny-blue, and then even more greeny-blue when I added the bicarb, and the other one stayed purple.

Next I divided each dye in two, hot dyed three lots (simmered for an hour) and cold dyed three lots. One of the hot dyes (Sadly the lovely greeny-blue one) burnt dry while it wasn't being watched so I was left with just the two hot and three cold. The cold dyes only had two days in the jam jars but with silk, this seems to be enough. Some of the silk was mordanted in alum and some wasn't but to be honest, I can never see any difference.

Here are the cold dyes , along side a green sweet chestnut (left) which I added the next day.


Apart from the burnt saucepan, two other disasters befell this dye lot. Firstly, the lovely new silk that I bought in town this week turned out to be polyester and didn't take any colour at all. I shall have to get my money back on that. Luckily I used some of the old silk as well.

Secondly, the cold dyed greeny-blue (remember there isn't a hot dyed one, it burnt dry) came a right cropper when I was rinsing them all; I spilt some vinegar, grabbed what I thought was a jaycloth and mopped it, only  I'd picked up the greeny-blue silk and not a jaycloth at all! I watched in horror as large pinky patches appeared. However, not to be beaten, I rinsed the empty jam jar, filled it with water and a teaspoon of bicarb, shoved in the silk and gave it a good shake. The greeny-blue cover returned. I suspect this means the colour won't be very fast at all and will be affected by anything it touches but never mind.

Here are the two hot dyed silks. I think the vinegar one should have been taken out sooner as after an hour it had gone purple. They are really quite similar.


Red cabbage hot dye without vinegarRed cabbage hot dye with vinegar

Here are the three cold dyed silks. From left to right, bicarb, nothing, vinegar. Again, the vinegar isn't that different, even though I rinsed it in vinegar afterwards. The bicarb one recovered well after it's disaster with the vinegar. This picture is when they are still damp.


Sadly, the colours are not so vibrant when they're dry, and the pink is now purple again.


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