Sunday, February 7, 2016

Coffee, Persimmon and Pomegranate Dyeing

(l-r) persimmon, pomegranate and coffee dyed fabrics
Sue's challenge has been a lot of fun, "to explore the use of natural products to color my fabric".  I've been thinking about doing some dyeing with different leaves and spices and fruits for a while, and with this incentive, I've actually gotten a chance to try some things out.  Limiting myself to things in the house and yard, coffee, persimmons and pomegranates were my palette.

Coffee dye bath
Scoured the internet for tips and videos and DIYs for natural dyeing and after reading up, combined steps form here and there to make my own method.  For coffee, used grounds were saved until there was about a cup.  Boiled that in water and then simmered for an hour.  Meanwhile, soaked fabrics and thread in simmering water.  What I'd read indicated there wasn't any need for a mordant with coffee (or the other two, either).  Drained fabric in colander and added to coffee sludge, grounds and all.  Let steep for about and hour and then drained the coffee off in the colander.  Without rinsing, wrung fabrics (grounds and all) placed on baking sheets, crumpled, in 200º F oven.  It took several hours to dry the linens, silks were much quicker.  Rinsed the fabric thoroughly and hung to dry.  Ironed.

Coffee on (l-r) natural linen, pearl cotton, silk organza, silk habotai, bleached muslin,
 damask tablecloth and bleached linen 
Drying the fabric in the oven, or actually anywhere crumpled up, gave the fabrics a lovely mottled, aged appearance in shades of brown.

Coffee dyeing, detail
Next try was persimmons.  My persimmons were long gone from the tree, but I'd dried lots of them an still had a box uneaten - so, that was my persimmon experiment.  Reconstituted the dried persimmon in boiling water and ground it up with an immersion blender.  Followed the same process as with the coffee, but thoroughly rinsed and hung to dry flat.

Persimmon puree
Surprise - almost all of the color rinsed out, with the exception of the silk organza and habotai.  A beautiful, delicate, pale peach remained. 
Silk organza (top left), habotai (right)

Finally, pomegranates.  This would have been ideal a couple months ago, but I did have some leftover pomegranates on the bush and ground that the squirrels and birds hadn't finished.  I scavenged about a dozen and broke them up in a pot of boiling water.  After letting it simmer for an hour, I did a rough strain through the colander to remove big pieces.  Then I proceeded just as I'd done the persimmon.  The final variation with the pomegranate was to rinse it with vinegar before I did my rinsing out - hoping to not lose all the color like the persimmon.  Not sure if that was a factor, but the color was much more evident in this batch.

(l-r) silk organza, pearl cotton, bleached muslin, damask tablecloth, natural linen
Interesting colors from the pomegranate - no red (although there were blue spots left behind where I washed it off the wall) The habotai is almost golden, the linen and cotton, pale, pale, pale yellow.  Great learning experience - will definitely experiment with more.  Now I need to create something with this palette - something to do with cycles….

…..just kidding

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, soft earthy colours Martha. Can't wait to see the end result!