Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Sewing - My Dye Sample Scroll

The past few weeks, I've been working fairly non-stop on my version of a dye book.  As part of the fibers class I'm taking this semester, everyone in the class chose a natural dye to work with.  I made up a packet of various fabrics and yarns for each person in the class and ended up with a ton of samples - like a chain letter that actually works!  The next step was to make a dye book of some sort, with the challenge being to incorporate fiber arts in a creative way.  Since I was working with the old ways of dyeing, it made sense to me to use an old way of dealing with knowledge - scrolls. 

Working with osnaburg, I embroidered a botanical drawing of each plant and attached the samples.  For fabrics, I used wool felt, quilting weight kona cotton, habotai silk, and linen.  The yarns are alpaca, silk, merino wool, silk ribbon, and cotton embroidery thread.  I mordanted the animal fibers in alum.  I used two samples each of the plant fibers - one mordanted in tannic acid and one in aluminum acetate.  The two samples turned out about the same in almost all the dyes - some of the aluminum acetate pieces turned out quite a bit better - these are the circles with a notch cut out of the side.  I did some post-dye experimenting with a few of the samples and labeled them.

When one sees drawings of people in the past, they always seem to be wearing dull brown clothing - after seeing all the yellows from the natural dyes, it seems more likely that we should think of them wearing yellow!

I'm planning on working with each of these plants myself and will post those results as I finish them.

Happy Creating!  Deborah


  1. Wow, this is both beautiful and a great way to keep samples. Well done!!

  2. Hi Deborah. Those colors are really amazing (so much variety!) and your presentation on a scroll is beautiful and inspired! You'll clearly get much joy out of all the work you put into this project. Stunning. Thanks for sharing!

  3. You are a creative, amazing, energetic woman! Just looking at this project tires me out. And then my brain goes to how much it must have cost!! What a wonderful job you did!! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. A dying search is what brought me to your blog, and you have so many wonderful articles, I can't wait to get home and start my own batch. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips. Your photos are so crisp and clear, I can almost feel the fibers just by looking at the photos!