FEEDBACK FRIDAY: This Week in Natural Dye Questions

This week: Can you make big batches of iron mordant to store and how to get a light teal with our dyes.

I was wondering with iron can you make a big batch of it and use as needed like for an afterbath/mordant/assist/etc at your own discretion or do iron solutions need to be made fresh each time?

I think you should experiment and see what happens. It seems that your idea is a good one as long as you are aware of the percentage of iron to water is so you can accurately add the solution to your dye baths. Dyers in India create a potent iron mix of iron and sugar (jaggery) and sometimes vinegar and let that mixture ferment. The aroma is very strong and the liquid is strained and used in dyeing black and dark shades.

I am trying to achieve aqua blue/light teal with a combination of liquid pomegranate & Saxon blue. Results on mordanted silk habatoi using ratio for light shades listed on your site were a “fern green.” Please advise as to the correct method/ratio to achieve aqua or light teal.

Saxon Blue is very yellow-based and when used by itself yields an aqua/turquoise shade. When you combine with another color like pomegranate, the yellow tint of the dye influences the combination and this turns it green. You were very close: next time, try less pomegranate or more Saxon Blue to achieve a teal shade.
 Although we provide guideline recipes for each color, your results may vary due to water, fiber and any variation in the dye itself from seasonal harvests.


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