Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dyeing Bamboo fiber

I am planning on making some art with wool roving and my felting (embellishing) machine. I wanted some silk fibers to add some shimmer.

I went to Fancy Tiger in Denver as I know they carry wool roving. They had silk/wool blends but did not have 100% silk. I found some Bamboo fiber that had a lovely luster. It had been slightly dyed and had some blue-ish sections.  I decided to dye it six different colors, so I would have multiple colors to work with.

This is the bamboo fiber, as purchased. I bought two, but am only dyeing one of them.

I soaked my fibers in a soda ash solution for about an hour. I have a big bucket of soda ash water that I just keep using over and over, but I didn't want the fibers to get all tangled or lost in there, so I put them the solution and fibers in a gallon size zip lock bag. I knew I'd be using six colors, so pulled it apart into six sections before soaking it.

I mixed my Procion MX dyes with some salt in sandwich size zip lock bags (6 colors).  I used about a 1/4 teaspoon of dye in each. 

I put the fibers in the dye bags. This is when I think, what else can I throw in these dye bags? They are pretty small. I decided to dye some cotton lace/crochet.  I dunked it in soda ash water for about a minute, and left them pretty drenched with the solution when I took them out and put them in the dye bags (since I did not let them soak very long).  I left the bamboo fibers in the dye for 2 hours, and the cotton lace/crochet for four hours.

I used the same gallon zip lock  bag I used for my soda ash soak to rinse the dyes out of the fibers. I did not want them floating loose in the sink. I did pierce the bag in multiple places thinking the water from the sink could flow in and out of the bag, but it didn't really work that way. I let the lace/crochet pieces be loose in the sink. I did not wash anything in the wash machine. I washed everything in the sink, one cold wash, two hot washes, (all of these with Synthrapol) and then one hot wash with no soap.

Here is the bamboo fiber after it dried.

I used my fingers to pull it out in tufts to reshape it.

Here are all my pretty fibers. They are darker than I really wanted, but still will be great in my felt art.

And here are the fibers with the cotton lace/crochet pieces. From the top, Jacquard color names unless noted otherwise: Carmine Red, Bright Green, Avocado, Lapis Blue (Dharma Trading), Deep Purple. The blue fiber above that did not have any matching lace/crochet is Azure Blue (Dharma Trading).

I plan to work on the felted art pieces later in the month. Currently I need to work on some mixed media pieces for a Call for Entry due December 19th.  I have them in the works already so will show progress photos in the next couple days.

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