Monday 17 August 2009


Dyeing with red cabbage produced a pleasing result. I found that blending the cabbage up in a mixer made it a lot easier to extract the pigment "anthocyanin" from its leaves.

This vegetable's natural colouring is used for food dyes, so I was expecting a strong colour on silk.

The changes in colour at the various stages was quite interesting.
The blended cabbage had been boiled, left to soak overnight then boiled two more times. This left the cabbage a pale blue with the dyebath a strong lilac.

It is best not to expose silk to high temperatures, so the mordanted silk shawls were lowered into a cool dyebath. Making sure they had plenty of room to move freely whilst totally submerged, It started to gently heat the dye bath.

I continued heating until I had reached the desired depth of colour and then rinsed the shawls in a solution of water and "ritha" also known as soapnut. Once dry, a second rinse was done just to make sure that all excess colour had been removed.

The silk shawls had been mordanted in alum some weeks earlier, so it was also interesting to discover that it causes no harm to have a lengthy period of time between mordanting and dyeing.

It is with this dyestuff that I wish to try BATIK on a 55% hemp 45% organic cotton material. I think this dye is strong enough to give cotton a smooth colour, (especially if dyestuff quantity is doubled!)

Natural clothing, bags and so on...