Thursday, May 31, 2007

Modifiers and Drying Skeins

Before I get to the latest modifier I tried with the Cutch dye, here is a picture (on the left) of the very simple skein drying rack I have. It is simply a left over length of PVC pipe that is hung using rope tied to the canopy at either end. I simply slide the skeins on. Today was the first day we have had early morning sun and I discovered that the skeins are in full sun for about 30 minutes. Of course, this is low, early morning sun but still. After taking the pictures I slid them into the shade.

The next picture on the right is a closer picture of the medium and light DOS* and the three skeins that were modified with a soda ash rinse. I will post a picture later on of the dark, medium, and light DOS skeins from this batch. The first batch of Cutch I used hydrogen peroxide as an additive to darken the colors. I rather liked the effect. The book did not say how much to use, just 2% hydrogen peroxide added to the last 15 minutes. I thought the standard household hydrogen peroxide was 2% but it is actually 3%. When I calculated 2% hydrogen peroxide based on WOF* I got about 2 drops to add. That didn't make sense to me so I added 100 ml. I could see the dyebath change when I added it. I have a feeling that less would have been just as well. That would be something to test in the future as I do like the colors I got. The current batch is without the hydrogen peroxide added and I changed the DOS percentages. The first batch I used 4%, 6%, and 12% for light, medium, and dark DOS. I didn't think it was enough of a difference in the final result so with the second batch I used 2%, 6%, and 18% for light, medium, and dark DOS. I like the results.
The picture on the left here is a close-up of the soda ash modified skeins. Now soda ash is generally used with cellulose fibers, not protein fibers*. Soda ash is alkaline and caustic. If too much is used with protein fibers, it will dissolve them. The book mentioned that a soda ash rinse reddens Cutch. I used 2% WOF for the amount of soda ash and proceeded as for an iron after-bath. That is I heated water, added the dissolved soda ash, and then swished the skeins in the bath until I saw the color change. Actually what I saw was the soda ash reddening the Cutch but also stripping the dye from the skeins! The skeins had been washed and rinsed until the water ran clear before I put them in the bath. The color did not redden and the skeins are slightly paler than the originals. I may have done something wrong or it may just not be appropriate for protein fibers. I will have to consult my mentor. Dana any ideas? I will say that I rinsed the skeins after the soda ash bath and I was concerned about the soda ash affecting the wool yarn so I added a quick splash of vinegar to neutralize. That may have done something too. So intriguing!
I have a Pomegranate dyebath going at the moment. It is another dull color but tomorrow I will be dyeing with Cochineal bugs! I have been looking forward to it. Lush color too! I will post pictures of the final results of the Cutch dyeing tomorrow, and the Pomegranate as soon as it is done.
No question for today. -Renee
* please see glossary

2 comments:

dana said...

Yikes! I have never done a soda ash post bath on any dye. Where did you find out about that? I dye cellulose almost exclusively, and that means I mordant with alum acetate (aluminum refined with acetic acid). That introduces an acid to the dyebath which might alter the color of the cutch for me. However, soda ash is an alkaline, so I don't know why I get red brown and you get carmel, if alkalines are what move cutch to red. Hm. Good job on the drying rack.

Renee said...

Hi Dana, the Earthues Dye Book from the colors collection had this under "Cutch." It really didn't make sense to me as I know that soda ash is alkaline. However, an interesting thing happened. I tie my skeins with cotton yarn. So far all of the cotton has dyed along with the wool. The cotton ties on the skeins with the soda ash rinse have a reddish tone that the wool yarn does not. Give one something to think about. I think that when I see soda ash mentioned that the book might just automatically be referring to cellulose fibers. Thanks for your input after my broad hint! I am having too much fun.