Sunday, 26 August 2012

Eco print experiment shawl

Over the last few months I've been really inspired by the work of my blog friends Terrie and Heather  and Nicola..  They have been ECO dyeing, using leaves and rusty objects to naturally dye silk fabrics and felt, with no nasty chemicals just vinegar and heat.. and creating really gorgeous prints!  

Last month I FINALLY got round to having a go myself :)  For my first experiment I collected leaves from trees and plants in the wood at the bottom of my garden.. and nabbed a rose leaf off a neighbours bush.  The  results of the first experiment took 'subtlety' to the exptreme lol.  I had a lovely golden glow to the previously white silk.. and a hint of a print.. but nothing distinct. 

Terrie has written some very helpful posts covering her eco dyeing method.. and I think my problem might of been that I didn't soak the fabric in vinegar/water before bundling and boiling.. though I'm sure that many of the leaves I'd collected are just not so good for dyeing with.

As the rose leaf worked best for me.. and Terrie has had fab results from rose leaves I decided my 2nd experiment would be rose leaves and a scattering of olive leaves (from my parents garden).

The rose leaves came from my Nan's favourite rose bush.. but I didnt want to take too many. SO I decided to use one to print rose leaves onto the silk fabric using my silk paints.. 

then nuno felt a shawl using the tumble drier to speed things up..

Great tip from Heather to use the body part of a pair
of tights (pantyhose) to tie the bundle up ready for the tumble drier!

I laid the leaves out on the wool side of the shawl for eco dyeing... remembering to soak it in vinegar water first this time :)

After simmering for a good hour in vinegar water I took the covered pan out into the garage and left it there for TWO days - I could not believe my own patience!  Usually it'd be opened up as soon as I can do so without burning myself :)

opening the bundle up

My rose leaves show up quite nicely.. but there is no sign at all of the olive leaves.  It is still very subtle.. but actually I like that in THIS piece.  I definitely need to find some leaves which will give stronger prints though for futureprojects!

Eco print rose leaves after drying
This is the silk side (with my paint/printed rose leaves) after nuno felting and boiling etc..
I'm impressed at the colour fastness of the Jacquard paints!

Big, soft and snuggly shawl

I am planning to give this to my Nan for her birthday in November.. I think that she will like it..  I hope she does anyway :)

I did find that there was some mottling of darker colour on the part that had been on the bottom of the pan.  Not sure if that was due to heat, or because I let it sit for so long.. maybe the colour settled at the bottom.  I don't know, but I like the effect on this piece so I'm not complaining :)


Ginny Huber said...

I am loving seeing your experiments, especially because I too am new at this myself..and very very hooked at this point. as I am a felter, too, I am wanting to try more things with wool and silk i learn..I am sure your nan will like the looks soft and subtle as you say and full of eco-print love!

FeltersJourney said...

Thank you Ginny :) I think its the gentle-ness of dyeing without nasty chemicals.. using all natural materials that is so very attractive to me. Must try RUST next - suddenly can't find any rusty objects though!

india flint said...

the book 'second skin' devotes a chapter to this method...and there's a link to it from my blog

FeltersJourney said...

Thanks India.. I'm on my way over for a look :)

spidersworkshop said...

I have seen this on a couple blogs and I really want to try it. I didn't know rose leaves dye, can they be used to dye whole fabrics or just prints?

I will have to try!

Clasheen said...

This is gorgeous Deborah, congratulations!!! It's so exciting to open up the bundles isn't it, I'm still really at the experimenting stage too but definitely if you can get some eucalyptus leaves they seem to print beautifully.

FeltersJourney said...

Hi Spidersworkshop, I have just ordered India Flints book Second Skin, she has another book, can't remember the exact title but its Botanical Dyes.. they both look veeery interesting.

Hi Nicola :) your experiments are much more eyecatching than mine.. love the depth of colour you got in your latest batch! I am on the lookout for a eucalyptus. It's HARD to wait a whole day to open those bundles lol

Terrie said...

Deborah, it's good still, for the first trial. Rose leaves are good prints. I did tried oliver leaves but nothing. India Flint's another book "Eco Colour" is a good ref. Thanks for your sweet comments.

FeltersJourney said...

Thank you Terrie.. your latest prints are so beautiful.. if I can do even half as well I'll be happy :)

Eco Colour is on my wish list :)