this is the first in a planned series of posts for this project. or this group of projects. as it grows and evolves and solidifies.
i have an idea in mind. after careful(ish) consideration, i decided the first step would be a natural dye experiment. the internet sent me on my way with all kinds of recommendations and various suggested instructions. a veritable plethora of helpful and contradicting advice. I started to get a little overwhelmed, and then reminded myself that i wasn't trying to diy an important article of clothing or dye wool yarn for artisanal resale. i was hoping for the wonky and unknown, so. so nothing ventured, nothing gained and whatever the process did is exactly what it was meant to do.
ok. i found some 100% cotton canvas and learned that it should be "scoured." i figured i'd be outside with a stiff bristle brush, soaping and rinsing - and was totally relieved to learn that it would just be a 2-4 hour simmer on the stove with a little washing soda. found the washing soda at the local box store which was a pleasant surprise. i had never seen it before. (to be honest i had never looked for it. so you know.) for a moment i considered the option of baking baking soda at 400 degrees fahrenheit for some amount of minutes. then thought there are times to be totally hardcore and times when a quick trip to boxstore hell is ok. besides, our oven has it's own ideas about what "on" and "preheat" actually mean and sometimes i'm just not up for the negotiation.
while the cotton canvas was scouring, i started rummaging for dye options. all sorts of advice there. watched a couple youtubes, read a bunch of blogs. really wanted to try beets. kept reading that they are a temporary dye at best, and works better with wool and silk than cotton. but i had a few old beets and red cabbage in the fridge and while i have mixed feelings about eating beets, i do love to chop them. so that decided that. also settled on black tea and black beans.
a few hours later i rinsed the scoured cotton into their dye baths. decided to add powdered turmeric to the black tea bath - the combination smelled AMAZING. the red beets and cabbage looked good at this stage, too. and did not smell amazing at all.
ok. the almost-last-step is to set the color in a vinegar bath after rinsing really well. then after that, heat setting which i did with a steam iron. here, the beets/cabbage and the turmeric/tea are vinegar-ing and the black beans are still dying.
as lovely as the beets/cabbage looked sitting in its process, it ultimately faded to just about nothing. i like the texture of the well worked canvas, but doubtful i'll take the time to try again with those ingredients. the black bean dye has a lot of subtle variation and beautiful colors going on, and the turmeric/tea is my totes fave. ha!
this is not a tutorial or even a decent explanation of how to much of anything. more a sharing of what i've been up to. if you're interested.
xoxo y mas