Earth Day Dye Instructions
Thank you so much for purchasing our dye flower seeds! We hope that they have flowered, bloomed, and have been feeding lots of pollinators. Below you will find directions for scouring, mordanting, and dyeing.
A few words of caution before we get started, while the chemicals involved in the natural dye process are non toxic, they are inedible and can be irritating to the eyes, throat and skin. Please wear gloves during all processing, and a dust mask. Aluminum Acetate is especially powdery and has a pungent vinegar smell. Please use caution with children during this entire process.
A few notes on handling wool or alpaca: high temperatures and agitation will felt your materials. While great for a felted project, it is not so great for yarn. To avoid felting, increase heat slowly, agitate as little and as delicately as possible, and never let the temperature go above 180 degrees. Also, as tempting as it may be during the rinsing process, do not place fibers into drastically different temperature liquids, ie a very hot dye bath to a cool rinse in the sink.
Before we start, it should be noted that most of the fun in natural dyes can come from not following directions, and just playing--with pH levels, length of time in the dye pot, the amount of dyestuffs etc. While these instructions are a general guiding point, feel free to wiggle around and explore.
Scouring is the process of cleaning fibers of oil, grease, or dirt. If the fibers are not clean, mordanting and dye results will be irregular. Mordanting is the chemical process that prepares the fibers to absorb the most amount of dye and improve their lightfastedness. Protein and plant fibers have different handling processes, which have been separated below. Before you begin, you must measure the weight of your fiber (wof) when it is still dry. This number is useful, be sure not to lose it.
To continue with protein fibers (wool, alpaca, silk), please click here.
To continue with cellulose fibers (linen, cotton, hemp), please click here.
To continue with dyeing instructions, please click here.