Goldenrod Green

With goldenrod aplenty in bloom right now, I wanted to try using the fresh stuff to dye some silk. Once again, I used my new-to-me rice steamer, with a few modifications to the process.

This time I wrapped my fabric-and-dyestuff bundle in baking parchment before it went on the steaming rack — duh. I also put a little foil tent over the bundle to shed condensation — double duh. I wrapped the bundle around a scrap of copper pipe, but didn’t use any iron or other metal in the bundle (except for the aluminum rice steamer pan).

Because I wanted to try a particular experiment this time, I used a plain, unmordanted PFD white scarf blank from Dharma instead of something previously dyed or gleaned from the thrift store. I’m generally happy with my mad-science methodology and serendipitous results, but I wanted a clear indication of what was happening when….

… after steaming, I dipped the ends of the bundle into two different pH modifiers. On the left is a solution of baking soda and plain tap water. On the right is vinegar.

The color change from the baking soda solution was dramatic enough right away to convince me to abandon methodology and dip the whole thing in the baking soda solution.

Here’s what I got.

As long as the modifer solutions were mixed up, I figured I might as well sample them on one of cherry-pit solar dye bundles. Here’s what that fabric looked like before the modifers. It wasn’t gorgeous, but it looked better than this picture.

I stuffed the ends of the fabric into the modifier mixtures.
Again, the baking soda gave immediate results.

I think the next step will be to do some mineral printing on this. But that will have to wait. 
My little steamer is letting me have some fun without getting too distracted from my to-do list. I spent the better part of this week trying to make friends with a new computer, new operating system, new software, and (for the first time) wireless. I threw a hissy fit yesterday afternoon, and after that the wireless decided to start working. I have no idea what I did differently.
At least with dyeing and modifiers, I get results I can understand.
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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin

3 thoughts on “Goldenrod Green”

  1. Donna-
    I’m enjoying your dye experiments. Any advice for me when I use birch bark for dyeing? I’m planning to chop up the inner bark and let it soak for at least 2 weeks, but I’m not sure which mordant I’d like to try with either wool or alpaca yarn for a shawl.

  2. Birch bark is on my to-do list, also. Because it’s made flexible for weaving by heat instead of soaking like most barks, I don’t have past experience with how long it takes the bark wrapped up in a damp towel to stain the towel permanently (I’ve done years of testing on other barks with that method).

    I’m planning full-contact bundle dyeing rather than immersion baths for my birch bark samples. Will also play with birch leaves. Will probably start with silk and no mordant and go from there.

    Your plan for a yarn immersion bath sounds good. As for a mordant for wool and alpaca? Jenny Dean says none necessary for the bark, but she got a brighter color with alum. Let us know how your sampling goes!

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