Returning to the Guide to Natural Dyes

by - Monday, December 31, 2012

In 2013 we will be returning to our natural dyeing blog posts. We left off at the close of 2010 just before we were about to start talking about mordants.

Why the gap? In that time we've been doing extensive research and testing in our own studios. We have been working with new extracts, a wider variety of raw materials, and some alternative mordanting methods.

During the past two years we have done considerable experimental dyeing in which we check recipes for fastness (light, wash, and rub fastness). We then do additional testing on the process so that we may expect even results. Such testing is especially important for fabrics (as opposed to yarns) as we want to avoid splotchy dyeing. In addition we track such criteria as environmental friendliness, cost of materials, and conservation of water and energy. These are often the most important factors to communicate when we teach internationally.

Below, a grid of tests using weld and cochineal extracts on a variety of fibre types.

A-cotton, B-silk, C-rayon, D-wool, E-wool (dyed at the same time as silk)

1-weld 100%
2-weld 95% and cochineal 5%
3-weld 90% and cochineal 10%
4-weld 70% and cochineal 30%
5-weld 50% and cochineal 50%
6-weld 30% and cochineal 70%
7-weld 20% and cochineal 80%
8-weld 10% and cochineal 90%
9-weld 5% and cochineal 95%
10-cochineal 100%

Posts in the Maiwa Guide to Natural Dyes

Weight of Fibre
Our Approach
Mordants Part 1
Mordants Part 2
Mordants Part 3
Brazilwood Myrobalan

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  1. Yes! I'm so excited to have this series return! Thanks for taking the time to share these things :)

  2. Wow!!! I best go back and read all the previous posts. This could get exciting!!!


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