Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cooking up Pink Geraniums for Dyeing

Yesterday’s experiment in natural dyeing was truly extraordinary. Last week, I boiled up some fresh pink geranium flowers. Once the broth had cooled, I strained the mixture and put it in the fridge, being careful not to mistake the carton for my yogurt during the week. (This is a joke, folks.) I decided that there was less risk of mold if I kept it carefully labeled in the fridge.


Pink Geraniums


Yesterday, I heated the liquid in my trusty ex-fondue pot, added some stannous chloride (tin mordant), which fizzed up a little, then cream of tartar, and watched the mixture turn from clear light pink to opaque. How strange! Unless you kept stirring it, the mixture formed a couple layers of sediment, which can be seen below. (I wish I could remember the technical term for this from my high school chemistry class, but I may have been too interested in my lab partner that year.)


Pink Geranium Soup 2011


Once I rinsed it, the wool was a gorgeous yellow! Deep, dark, gorgeous yellow.

Pink Geraniums

Finished Product

This whole experiment of mine this spring has truly made me more interested in chemistry (other than food preparation) than I have been in ages.  Just fascinating.

The tin worked this time, so I think that the time I used it on the red onion skins and it turned out so badly was because the temperature was too high.

On another note…

Each year The Artist and I give a Craft Award for the High School Show at out local Art League. This year we gave it for wearable art made of homework folded into airplanes:

HS Show 2011

Flying Homework Wedding Dress

Fiber wedding dress bodice

Closeup of Woven Bodice

Our goal is to encourage young people in Fine Craft.