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dye update

January 24, 2011

—this is the ammonia fermented lichen after 2 weeks. Looks good–but the 2 small skeins, silk and wool, were left in the mix overnight (no heat) and not much colour. 

I decided to go ahead and try dyeing a skein of 2 ply, handspun silk/bamboo. Not much happened so after an hour I added 1 oz. alum and let it cool overnight in the dye pot. 

This is it, not the red I was hoping for. Big disappointment, can’t even call it pinky beige. Oh well, can always overdye.  The dye bath was almost clear so the fibre soaked up most of the colour.

I have put more ammonia in the remaining lichen and will leave it longer and see the results.

Such are the surprises when dyeing with natural materials. Need to figure where I went wrong??

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 12:03 pm

    I thought it was now legally supposed to be labelled “rayon from bamboo” or something similar. Though I’m not sure whether the regulations are Canadian or US or both. It’s lovely stuff anyhow though sometimes it doesn’t quite dye the way you think it should!


    • January 27, 2011 12:24 pm

      I, too, remember something about the legal labelling but can’t remember the details. The interesting thing is that the wool (handspun merino) sample didn’t dye any better so still think it was something I did or didn’t do!


  2. Evelyn Oldroyd permalink
    January 24, 2011 9:05 pm

    I had excellent success with a lichen last fall though I am still unsure of what type it was. I had soaked the lichen in ammonia for about 2 months, warmed it slightly and left the silk overnight. I have never tried to dye rayon though. I would think what you have is probably silk blended with rayon from bamboo cellulose, which is erroneously called bamboo.


    • January 25, 2011 11:51 am

      yes, of course the fibre was rayon bamboo–I believe it is called bamboo to distinguish it from rayon produced from other plant materials. I have had good results dyeing it in the past.Have several excellent books on lichens and have enjoyed dyeing with them for years. Think correct identification is critical but sometimes difficult.No doubt the lack of colour is entirely my “fault”.I love the colour you achieved, although not necessarily my favorite. Will see if I can identify the lichen in one of the books. Jean


      • Evelyn Oldroyd permalink
        January 26, 2011 10:02 am

        😉 the bamboo thing is a bit of a bugbear with me – so many people still don’t realize it is rayon – indistinguishable from any other source. It has been so misrepresented as having properties it doesn’t etc.


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