Once the yarns or fiber have been soaked in a mordant solution, they are ready for the dye bath. The mordanted yarns can also be dried and stored for dyeing at a later time. In this project, I am sampling to see what colour range I can achieve through a simple overdye technique.
I am using 3 fairly easy to find natural dyes: Brazilwood (gives pink and orange),
Osage Orange (yellow),
Saxon Blue Indigo solution (blue). I prepared each dye bath in separate pots and divided the yarn skeins evenly between each pot (both Tin and Alum mordanted skeins). I left the skeins in each pot to simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When I was happy with the depth of colour, I removed 1 skein from each pot, rinsed and hung it up to dry. This was my original sample of each colour. With the remaining skeins, I wanted to overdye them in the other dyepots to see what colours would emerge. I then removed two thirds of the skeins from each pot, and put them into the other 2 pots. That is, if there were 18 skeins left in the Brazilwood pot, I removed 12 (6 Tin, 6 Alum) and placed 6 (3 Tin, 3 Alum) in Indigo and 6 (3 Tin, 3 Alum) in Osage Orange. I let these simmer for about 1/2 hour and then removed a sample from each pot. For the remaining skeins, if I liked the colour that was developing, I left them in the pot to deepen. If I didn’t like the colour, I removed the skein and put it in another one of the dyepots for a bit longer. When I removed all of the skeins, there was still lots of colour left in the dyepot. As I don’t like to waste good dye, I placed some other premordanted skeins of yarn into the pots and let them simmer.
I used fairly light concentrations of dye as I was not dyeing a large amount of fiber and I wanted to achieve fairly light, pastel tones for this project. A larger concentration of dye will result in deeper colour and more afterbath solutions. I won’t go into details of how I mixed the dyes, in this article but you can find more information and dye recipes on this website as well as elsewhere on the net. Experiment and have fun.