Wednesday, 26 March 2014

solar dying

A few years ago I participated in Dye-o-rama. It took three goes before I had a hank of yarn fit to send to my swap buddy. In the process something in the dye chamicals reacted with the coating on my spectacles, turning them rainbow coloured. And I managed to leave a small but permanent spot on my housemates new kitchen. Since then I've restricted my attempts at permanent colour changes to prepackaged kits that do the job in the washing machine.

Last week I stumbled across a couple of solar dying kits. These sound great. You basically stand a sealed jar outside for a month, and let the sun do the work. No fear of turning the kitchen a different colour, ruining my glasses, or poisoning anybody. Helen Melvin's article made the process sound relatively straight forward without going to the expense of buying a kit. I've decided to see what colours could be gleaned from my immediate environment over the next few months.

We had a few jars laying about already. I bought half a kilo of white shetland top, and a package of Alum. I'm going to make up jars as the vessels and plants become available, and leave them to stand for thirty days. The recipe calls for equal weights of vegetable matter and fiber. I've added 4g of alum as this should be plenty to mordant fiber weighing less than 25g. For now the jars will stand in our super warm sunny kitchen, but I'll move them outside when Summer kicks in.

I've not even left the kitchen to start these first jars using turmeric, parsley, and red onion. Stop by next month to see how we get on.


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