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.
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.)
Once I rinsed it, the wool was a gorgeous yellow! Deep, dark, gorgeous yellow.
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:
Flying Homework Wedding Dress
Closeup of Woven Bodice
Our goal is to encourage young people in Fine Craft.