Video From Live FEEDBACK FRIDAY: Dyeing With Raw Materials

This week, we’ve got video and questions from our first ever live FEEDBACK FRIDAY!

Social distance can’t stop us from talking about what we love to do most.

If you are not familiar with FEEDBACK FRIDAY, every week, we are emailed with questions from our natural dye community. Weekly, all of  your burning questions are answered by natural dyer in chief, Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors. Today for live Feedback Friday, both Kathy and Amy DuFault, Botanical Colors’ Sustainability and Social Media Director were on hand to moderate and answer questions via Zoom.

Special shout out to Carrie Gunnerson, Botanical Colors’ lead production dyer. Carrie is an indispensable piece of the Botanical Colors’ puzzle, is a total pro and showed us her home dye kitchen. We also got to see how to simmer, strain and the results of marigold and Osage Orange Sawdust on fabric in Carrie’s kitchen. SO pretty.

This week we focused on the topic of dyeing with raw materials. (Think marigold flowers, cochineal, madder root, logwood chips and other materials.) Some of the dye products you can use might even be around your home as you shelter in the dye shack.

We’ll be doing live FEEDBACK FRIDAY weekly until the Coronavirus eases up on us. So come join us, relax and know you are in the company of people who love natural dyeing as much as you!

Here’s the questions we answered today. Watch the live video for the answers:

-I have been scouring fabric getting them ready for my home grown marigolds, zinnias and madder root. I am waiting for all the varied mordants to arrive. I guess my questions revolve around what are the proper mordants with each?  I have alum, cream of tartar and tannin on the way.  My fabrics are mostly cotton and linen, but I do have some silks and bamboo.

-California Bay Laurels grow in my neighborhood. I’ve been soaking some of its fruit for a few months now to use it as dyestuff, preferably on cotton. I’m not sure how to proceed. Do I need to use a mordant or is there enough tannin in the fruit liquid?

-If one were to use botanical dyes for dyeing papers, is it necessary to always use a mordant, or is the color usually unstable and light sensitive?

-I am growing my own marigolds to dye ( both African and french marigolds).  At what point is the best time to clip them for drying?
any other marigold growing tips are helpful, I am new to flower gardening, but loving it and eager to learn!

-I purchased some of your Murasaki seeds. How do I extract and  dye with them?

-I follow @scramblesquilts (Kristin Arzt) on Instagram. The other day she made a post using oak galls. She soaked her fabric in oak galls and then she said she was going to put the fabric in an aluminum acetate bath. Isn’t this essentially mordanting twice? Why use oak galls and aluminum acetate? I am assuming she would then put the fabric in a dye bath, but maybe my assumption is wrong?

-I’ve heard conflicting things about whether using rusty nails can actually achieve a desired color shift or not. And, I’m also curious about whether the way you’re getting iron in your dye pot (rusty nails, ferrous sulfate, a cast iron pot, or another way altogether?) affects the way you need to treat your cloth / yarn to ensure there doesn’t continue to be iron leeching out of your cloth as you continue to use and wash it.

-Often when dyeing with natural dyes (many of which I get from you so I know they are high quality) my results on cotton, silk, and linen are more muted and pale than I would like. I scour my fabric and have used a variety of recipes for mordanting. The photos I see from your classes are much brighter than I am able to get. What might I do differently to get more saturated and vibrant colors?

-Is there a way to know the difference between natural indigo powder and synthetic indigo powder?

-Do you have any tips for using avocado skins/pits (which is what I have available in my kitchen). I wasn’t going to mordant and am dyeing wool yarn.

-How about pine cones for dyeing?

-I have cut branches of stag horn sumac, can I use these like oak galls