Dyeing with Earth Pigments

Today’s meeting found us experimenting with earth dyes. First we painted our fabric with fresh soy milk (see http://box19.ca/maiwa/pdf/EarthPigments.pdf ) in the areas where we wanted to use our dyes.

While we hung them out to dry, we chose our colors from The Dye Works natural pigments.

jars of dyeUsing a teaspoon of pigment mixed with a tablespoon of soy milk to dampen it, we made our initial colors stirring to make sure the pigment was thoroughly dissolved. stirring pigments with soy milkWe put our colors in small containers, carefully labelled them and tried to decide how we would decorate our fabric. storing pigments in containersAfter the pigments have been thoroughly dissolved, we found some thickened after setting. There still needs to be gum tragacanth thickener added to all the pigments to keep the pigment suspended and to prevent bleeding. It may also help make delicate designs easier to apply to the fabric.

Everyone will take the items we have prepared and decorate their fabric. We will post the results of this experiment in the future.

Progress!

Five of us met to continue tying off sections of our ikat warps. (Most of us only work on these the one day each month when we meet.) We are hoping to have them ready for the dyepot sometime this summer. Each will have a different pattern of threads that have been carefully bound together to resist the dye and will produce a white pattern on the final cloth. Thank heavens we have Natalie’s instructions on how to tie off each section posted here . We all needed a refresher course in how to bind the pattern threads. This is a slow, but pleasant, endeavor. It will be exciting to see how it comes out.

five ikat warps with ties on some warp threadsAnn is particularly ambitious and has the wide warp shown at the bottom. She is not following a rigid pattern like most of us but is making a free form design that she is creating as she ties each bundle of warp threads.

November 19, 2017 – More ikat

Colorful ikat dyed scarfAfter our introduction to warping for ikat last month, we continued our projects. We found that we needed plenty of space to stretch out our warps in order to prepare them for tying off areas that would resist the dyes we would later use. And several of us found that it would have been easier to start with smaller warp widths than we had imagined for or projects. For example, Frank had used nine separate warp chains to weave the beautiful scarf shown above.

To accommodate our long warps, one of our members who works for Google took advantage of using the “Garage”, a work-space on the Google campus that employees can reserve for creative endeavors. It worked perfectly, allowing us to stretch out our warps and start bundling and tying them for dying.

Interior of the Google "Garage"One of us just starting the project learned from the experience of some of the rest of us and wound a warp for a 2-inch wide project. She easily caught up with others struggling with much wider warps.

a narrow warp And Shar, who had a disaster last month when her warp accidentally was severed, has forged ahead and is already wrapping her warp threads threads to resist the dye.

wrapping bundles of threads with plastic tapeThe saga will continue in upcoming months.

October 29, 2017 – Planning the ikat warp

Today some of us started planning our ikat warps under the experienced eye of Frank and with the help of the instructions that can be found here. Some of us used a warping board and some used a frame, but the challenge came in twining around designated bundles of warp threads that will be wrapped to exclude the dye. Next month we will proceed to the next step.

Using a warping board
Using a frame
Stretching the warp