When I told my son I was attending a dyeing workshop, he heard "dying" workshop, as in death and dying. When I've mentioned fiber fests to some people, they envision eating a lot of oatmeal. I guess one must be "in the know" to know what I'm talking about.
So, this dyeing workshop focused on dyeing with (somewhat) common dye stuffs that may be found in one's kitchen, or at least at a local international grocery store. We dyed with red onion skins (using three different pre-mordants), black beans (alum pre-mordant), dried hibiscus flowers (alum pre-mordant and different pH afterbaths), annetto powder (alum pre-mordant), and turmeric powder (no mordant, iron modifier). Here are the results:
Dried hibiscus flowers (Hibiscus sabdariffa). The sample on the left is with an acid modifier, the sample on the right with an alkaline modifier, the one in the middle with no modifier.
Tumeric powder. The one on the left is with no modifier, the one on the right with an iron modifier.
Red onion skins. Left to right: iron pre-mordent, copper pre-mordant, alum pre-mordant, exhaust bath alum mordant (one pot method), exhaust bath alum mordant (one pot method) and iron modifier, further exhausted bath alum mordant (one pot method).
I'll post photos of the black bean results later. Since dyeing with black beans takes DAYS, we finished a batch the instructor brought with her and started a new batch to take home to finish ourselves.
I also brought home the hibiscus flowers from the dye bath, to see if I can extract more dye from them; they are cooking on the stove right now while a skein of Lamb's Pride soaks in plain water. I'm going to skip the mordant. Another hint to follow re dyeing with hibiscus flowers is to not rinse the yarn right afterwards but let it dry for a day first. This seems to produce a deeper color.
While the class started with certain goals in mind, after a while we were free wheeling, hence trying the one-pot method of mordanting (the mordant is added directly to the dye bath). Also, one participant brought RFD (ready for dyeing) cotton cloth, to experiment with.
The instructor also dyed some sari cloth in one dye bath, then because she did not like the results, overdyed it in another dye bath. The results of natural dyeing are unpredictable, which is part of the fun. There are no mistakes, just unexpected results.