25 Jun Solar Dyeing Project, Part 2!
Back in May, Chloe (shop alternate and friend) installed a solar dyeing project, and jars filled with dyestuff, mordant, water, and yarn have occupied the front window for the past five weeks. This past week, she opened the jars!
One thing we were a little worried about was mould – and indeed there *was* a little bit of funky green stuff floating at the top of the jars, but it seemed to be most noticeable in jars that hadn’t been filled quite to the top. Also, while many solar dyeing websites warn about the foul smells of the newly opened jars, Chloe said that they mostly just smelled like whatever they were to begin with – the onion skin dye smells like onions, the tea-based dyes smelled like tea.
Because the front window has Eastern exposure, and we’ve had a fair share of cloudy mornings in the last month, Chloe gave them an extra dose of heat to set the dyes, just in case…
In the oven! Open jars were placed in a cold oven and brought up to 175F for about twenty minutes. She then let the jars and oven cool together (mason jars are oven safe, but they *can* shatter if exposed to rapid changes in temperature). Chloe checked the yarn before this final heat setting, and she said the extra twenty minutes didn’t seem to make a significant difference.
Then it was time for the big rinse! The dyestuff was rinsed out of each yarn very thoroughly, and they were then allowed to soak with some wool wash.
And then there was yarn!
The brightness and intensity of the colours vary widely, but all achieved the main goal of this experiment: all of the yarn changed colour. None was left anywhere close to white. . The Black Currant and Hibiscus teas, which looked very purple in the jars, came out as soft purpley silver (one has a bit of green in it as well). The Onion skin dye is a warm yellow-tan, and is the most variegated, with the parts of the skeins in closest contact with the skins absorbing more dye than the more distant sections. The paprika dye produced a soft orange-tone, and the black tea a muted brown. The tumeric produced a brilliant yellow, by far the brightest, but because tumeric dye is extremely light-sensitive, it’s already begun to fade while hanging outside. But the skeins look so lovely hanging in the doorway! I think I’ll leave them up for a while yet…
A big thanks to Chloe for initiating and executing this project!