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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Hibiscus Flower and Madder Root Dyeing

Finally got my finger out and started prepping for this year's TdF.  Only 8 days to go! First, I made up a dye bath with dried red hibiscus flowers bought from the local Chinese supermarket:-

The dye liquid was a lovely deep red when I strained out the flowers.

Jenny Dean says there's no need to mordant with hibiscus flowers, so in went about 100g Falkland fleece.  I didn't bother to photograph the result as, when I rinsed it afterwards, most of the colour washed out!  So then I put the fleece into an alum/CoT mordant bath - and the rest of the colour came out!  The fleece then went back in the dye pot and was simmered for about an hour then left to cool.  When I rinsed it the same thing happened - most of the dye washed out.  Definitely needed over-dyeing.

The hibiscus dye went out - and I put my dried madder roots in the pan, harvested earlier in the year and dried.  According to Jenny Dean you should really pour boiling water over the roots then strain and either discard the dye or use it to dye with (probably contains some brown shades).  Well, I didn't do that.  I heated the roots in a pan with plenty of water and let them simmer gently for about half an hour.  Then I strained off the liquid and returned the roots to the pan with water for another dye.

As the Falkland by this time was getting a bit tangled at the cut ends I decided it probably couldn't take another session on the stove so thought I'd solar dye it instead.

I put some of the dye liquid in a jar and stuffed in some of the fleece.

This was placed in the greenhouse for about 24 hours, and it really is hot in there at the moment, even with the door open the thermometer is off the scale, and here's what came out :-

The jar still looked as though it contained some colour, so in went some more of the Falkland.  This was left in the greenhouse for less than 24 hours :-

I've now put the last of the Falkland in the remaining liquid for, probably, a much paler colour.  I'll check it out tomorrow.

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