Like a lot of folks out there, I seem to be catching the eco dyeing bug. For those of you who haven't yet heard, eco dyeing is the practice of adding pigment to your cloth through eco friendly, low impact ways, which can include wrapping and bundling various plant material into cloth and leaving it outside in the elements, (the longer the better) or steaming/boiling it, as well as using natural materials to create dyes or stains.
Natural materials for brewing dye could include teas and coffees, various garden plants, as well as spices right from your kitchen cupboard. (Just remember that many garden plants can be toxic, so even though this is eco-friendly, you should still proceed with caution and educate yourself on what you are using.) A great resource to begin this experimental process is India Flint's book Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles.
The colors and patterns on these fabrics were achieved by various means and methods, many of which I combined, including: wrapping/bundling yard material in the cloth and leaving outside in the elements, wrapping and tying cloth around sticks, dying cloth in various combinations of ingredients, including teas and kitchen spices. (Turmeric makes an awesome yellow!) Mordants, (a substance that helps to open up the fibers and set the color into the fabric) included dyeing the fabrics in aluminum pots, (set apart only to use for fabric dying), along with adding either copper pennies, vinegar, lemon juice, or salt. Different mordants can produce different results, and technically, (from what I can tell, keeping in mind that I am still woefully ignorant on this) vinegar and lemon juice are not true mordants, they are simply acidic substances that can change the dye color, and help set it.
This cloth was made by first brewing in tea. While still wet, I laid it out on a flat surface then applied dots of mud mixed with yogurt. After allowing the mud to dry, I removed the mud mixture, (very time consuming... I thought it would just soak off, but I had to soak, scrap, repeat, repeat, repeat). The final result was a subtle large polka-dot pattern surrounded by lines created as the tea soaked fabric dried. Pretty cool, huh?
Have a great week Everyone!