So out of my comfort zone


The natural dyes i made from the quince plant have been sitting in the fridge all weekend. So every time I open the fridge there it all is staring at me or me staring at it and I’m  feeling bad because I can’t get to it. But you know I think I’ve just been afraid, and anxious to give it a go. I don’t really know what I’m afraid of but it’s new and it seems really complicated (messy) and that is probably what is making me anxious.

The very first time I tried to dye something was around 1980 and I was living in Hoboken. I got some turquoise procion dye in a little packet from Pearl Paint in Manhattan. It came with it’s own little bit of soda ash. It all seemed so complicated. I wanted to try batik. I melted some beeswax and painted this giant sheet. I think I painted a huge unicorn or something on it. Anyway I filled a small garbage can with dye and soda ash and water and put the sheet in. Then I left it there for like six weeks. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Everyday I would walk by it in the kitchen and have that same anxious feeling I just told you about. So one day I started to wring it out in the bathtub and turquoise was everywhere. Oh my god I was making a huge mess! I got a big old black garbage bag and threw the whole thing out. I was turquoise up to my elbows and very sad.

Okay way too much talk here but just one thing -I grew up not allowed to make a mess! No messes allowed! So sometimes I just get anxious when I make a mess. And that’s how it felt today. Like I was a little kid again making a mess and it was bad bad bad.

I had to force myself to get the quince dye going today. I put the rusty saw blade into my dyepot and then some fabric and boiled it all up for a while to make my iron mordant. Then I put it all into a steel bowl and made a citric acid mordant bath. I put some of my undyed roving into that pot along with some yellow silk (it was the lightest color I had), some rayon, cotton and a small piece of linen. I brought it up to a boil slowly so the fiber wouldn’t felt. Then I put some quince dye in. A little something happened and everything turned a slight beige color. I got really impatient and ran down and got some acid dye. I know, I know. I used forest green, peacock blue and purple. I couldn’t help it. I wanted color. Well I sure got it.

I love the way it all came out! Jonny just came in and told me he was making berry strudel and asked if I wanted some. I’m so glad we make messes around here! YUM.

I still have a lot more quince dye left and I promised myself that I will be much more patient tomorrow with the rusty iron mordant pot. Till tomorrow then.

I’m already getting some very cool markings from the rust so i wrapped a piece of linen around the sawblade. We”l see what happens overnight. I’m very patient when I’m asleep.

Strudel’s done!

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24 Responses to So out of my comfort zone

  1. Allison Green says:

    Wonder if you might be able to help. I’d like to dye some cloth with rust. Any tips? Do I just throw something rusty in a bucket with my cloth? Does it need to be heated or anything?

    • Allison Green says:

      I was just reading about using vinegar in the place of water to speed rusting… any experience with this?

      • marjorie says:

        yes, I have read it too. I think I may have done that with the saw blade. I never showed it-it was very light, but lovely. Can’t hurt- I have used vinegar before with natural dyeing and it really brings out the reds.

      • Allison Green says:

        Okay dokay 🙂

    • marjorie says:

      Hi Allison! i am a total novice at rust dyeing. I think there is enough iron mordant in the rust itself so you don’t have to add additional mordant, but not sure. I have gotten the best results when I wrap the cloth tightly around or press on the rust surface and leave it a long time at least 24 hours. then you get the cool impressions from the object. Heating probably doesn’t hurt, but not sure how long. Love to see your process and results. There are lots of rust dyers out there-check their blogs-if I find any I will send you a link.

      • Allison Green says:

        Okay, thanks a lot! I will definitely post my experiments. Now I just have to troll around town looking for some rusty things…

      • marjorie says:

        I am on your blog looking at your rocks. they are gorgeous! did you cover them with fabric? how?

      • Allison Green says:

        So glad you like them! There are no real rocks involved 🙂 Just a little roundish piece of cloth sewn onto a little square of cloth. I just pinned it down and hand-sewed it on by turning under the edge as I went. There is a video how-to on the Spirit Cloth blog. They are so fun. I see a lot of appliqué in my future.

      • marjorie says:

        LOVE them, thank you I will check out the video. I am not much of an applique’er , but I would love to try these.

  2. pennross says:

    What will you do with the roving? It is gorgeous!!!

  3. meta says:

    It’s so much fun making a mess and getting beautiful colours!

    • marjorie says:

      Oh yes I couldn’t agree more. It seems I always get very messy but it is always worth it. Giving myself permission to do that is hard sometimes though, I often feel like so many things come before my work like housework, work work, etc. it is always a balancing act. But getting those colors -wow!

  4. Niki says:

    The colours on the roving are stunning! I can’t wait to see how the rust spots turn out.

  5. Curls & Q says:

    Too funny! Sounds as if you have the dreaded DADD (Dyer’s attention deficit disease)! Lol

  6. Donna says:

    Pretty blues!

  7. Allison Green says:

    It looks so good! Way to go!

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