Friday, August 9, 2013

The Magic of Dyeing

Alice in Wonderland dress stage 1.
Hand dyed with eucalypt and my secret recipe to get ethereal blue..revealed in this blog entry ! 
hand felted  and needlefelted bust. It still needs heaps of embroidery and extra layers. Wearable art in progress...

It seems I have been in hiding a bit this week. From social media that is, so obviously everybody thought I was dead or there was something wrong. Don’t worry: I am still very much alive. I just had a lot of custom spinning jobs to do and lots of experimenting with the dye pots and new fibres.

This week I couldn’t multitask twittering, facebooking and posting on ravelry and get the urgent orders and experiments done. Apparently I am not the great multitasker I thought I So to make it up to you I am going to show you some dyeing magic and explain to you why it is always such a surprise what results you get .

I always get the asked: how do you dye this , how do you get these colours on that ? How does it work? Well, just to give you a very teeny tiny insight of my warped mind I will explain to you how I get my magical Alice in Wonderland blue..and no, its not an exhaust of indigo……
Alice in Wonderland yarn example

See the yarns just above here? And the little splashes of ethereal blue in my Alice in Wonderland dress stage 1? Well now, that colour is created by nothing less than Brassica Capitata: it is a very common readily available vegetable and I bet everybody has grown or eaten it quote regularly. It is …nothing else but…red cabbage !!!! Yes, who would have thought you could get a lovely ethereal blue from red?

The leaves of the red cabbage have a pigment in them called anthocyanin. This gorgeous pigment is also part of yes, beetroot!

Do you need to use mordants? Yes you do. The type of mordants you use has a huge effect o what colours you get. I tend to stick to alum but what is so magical about natural dyeing is that its not only the mordant you use, but also how you can manipulate the colour with so called modifiers.
To get my ethereal blue I use washing soda or cream of tartar. If you were to use some vinegar in the dyebatth it will give you a more reddish/mauve and if you were to be enticed to use iron it will give you a deeper darker shade of blue.

How much do you need? Well as a rule of thumb I always use the same weight or double the weight of natural dyestuff to the weight of the fibres I want to dye. But as in everything: experiment !

So, here is the recipe for Alice in Wonderland blue:
100 grams of protein fibres
200grams of red cabbage (fresh is best!)
about 4 liters of rainwater (yes, rainwater is best, because the chemicals added to drinking water will change the colours or have different effects on your natural dyeing)
alum as a mordant...10grams
cream of tartar as a modifier, 5 grams

Simmer the fresh red cabbage leaves for about an hour. Strain and let them steep for about another hour.
Add your yarn or fibres to the dyebath and simmer it on low. Never let it boil! Boiling silk for example is a great way of getting rid if lustre or softness for that matter. you do not want to be left with harsh fibres so treat them gently.
Do not take the fibres or yarn out of the dyebath. Let it all cool down naturally or, until you like the depth of colour in your yarn or fibre.
Take it out, rinse it all in luke warm to cool water and dry in the shade. Voila! Your own Alice in Wonderland blue recipe ! Welcome to the magical world of natural dyeing !

Dates to Remember:

The black and coloured Sheep breeders Associations of Victoria 2013

Sunday 29th-September 2013 from 9.30am to 3 pm
I will be there with heaps of new fluffy stuff !!
Cranbourne Public Hall (near KFC….),
Join me in all the fun ! There will be a huge amount of new blends and fibres to choose from. Here is the flyer with the information:

And now: drumroll!!!!
Here is the special fibre update of this week ! Enjoy!

Hand dyed IxCHeL Angorino Tops
100+grams     AU$22

a unique IxCHeL blend of Angora Rabbit (5%) and Super fine merino 17micron no less !!
It spins like a dream, is super soft and fluffy and felts beautifully as well !

UNIQUE to IxCHeLyou will be hooked once you have tried spinning this blend!
Alice in Wonderland tops (yes, dyed with red cabbage !)

Zombies and Mermaids

Fairytale ending


Forest Fairy





IxCHeL embroidered Aprons

A one size fits all 100% cotton apron, embroidered here at the farm! In some funny bunny designs. You can choose white, red or green embroidery on a red or black apron. The apron has two big pockets at the front as well. A great gift for any lover of bunnies, alice in wonderland, spinning or knitting !
Rabbit on ! aprons AU$29.95
Alice in Wonderland themed aprons with an intricate embroidery design $39.95
Rabbit on! Apron
We are all mad here

if you don’t know where you are going…
follow the white rabbit…

Happy bunny patchwork kits 

three gorgeous fabrics, a bunny button and pattern
only AU$9
Happy bunny kit

How To Order:
You can email me on ixchel at rabbit dot com dot au or message me on facebook or ravelry where I am Ixchelbunny. I will email you right back with all your order details and payment methods. Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask! Always happy to enable.
Thank you so much for your help and support !


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