Monday, 20 April 2009

Madder dyeing

It has been so gorgeous over the last few days, it's been a real inspiration to go out and get on with the cloth dyeing I needed to do. Between orders and the material I wanted dyed for this week in London (Alternative Fashion Week) it amounted to almost 30m of cloth to be dyed in madder! All done in 1 day too! Actually once you get into the flow it's not too bad, the hardest part is the weight of the cloth (particularly wool) when wet!

Here's one of the pieces of woolen cloth for the Weald and Downland Museum hanging on the line after coming out of the bath. The colour wasn't quite as dark as I'd hoped - but the base colour of the wool was grey.

I've also done lots of samples of the dye colours onto wensleydale fleece curls - trying to get a good range of repeatable colours. I have this idea that little curls can be used as samples for swatches if someone wants to take one away! This sample is of brazilwood - isn't it lush looking. Such a shame that this dye isn't lightfast, I think I'd use it lots more if it was, the crimson tones appeal to me far more than any other reds. The sample is dyed with Living Colour extract, half a teaspoon gives this depth of colour and there's plenty left in the exhaust too!
I probably won't get chance to update my blog for the rest of the week, but I'll report in on the lastest fashions when I get back!!! Must remember to pack my camera!


Unknown said...

Lovely fabric!

I am wondering what kind of setup and procedure you use to scour/mordant dye such large yardages of fabric evenly!! How much alum/madder did you end up using - this look like crazy lots to me!

I am asking as I am looking at dyeing yardages too (I'm in Canada and a historical re-enactor) and am looking at some sort of windlass set up with a large tub (I have a 60 gallon copper kettle on its way). There isn't anything available in the literature that I have seen on how to do this - most is about dyeing yarn or small quantities of fabric.

Mona - an admirer of your work!

Debbie said...

HI Mona,
Thanks very much for the comments, you're very kind!

It's taken many years of research, studying literature and experimentation with equipment to get to where we are. Tt's not something I can freely discuss in a public forum as it involves more than just my work. Please feel free to contact me directly.