Thursday, 3 September 2015

solar dye - sunflower seed scraps

   dye experiment - solar dye - sunflower seed scraps

     so this is my first attempt at solar dying.  one of my first attempts at natural dying at all really!  so, who knows if it will work?  apparently sunflower seeds are supposed to give a blueish/grayish dye, so hopefully that will happen!  who knows though!

#1. the seeds.

     were bird seed scraps.  so they maydo contain other bird seeds, and probably even some bird poop.  i did sort through them a bit and picked out some of the bigger pieces of other things.  i figured that the sunflower seeds are probably some of the lighter scraps, so i put them in a bucket and shook it so that all the heavy stuff would sink and the light stuff would rise up (thanks gold panning) and then skimmed off the sunflower seed husks from the top.  so.. not pure sunflower seeds.

#2.  the cloth.

     i got this remnant at the eco centre.  so.. i am not even completely sure what it is really.  i hope it is cotton, it seems like cotton.  i have mordanted it a few times, the first time in a mix of baking soda and alum, though i did not simmer it that time and i guess you are supposed to simmer alum mordants, oops.  i just let it soak at least 24 hours.  then a soy mordant, then an ash water mordant, then another soy mordant.

#3.  the process.

     i dampened the cloth and dampened some of the sunflower seeds.

     and then i spread out the seeds over the cloth and then folded the edges over.

     then i rolled it up

     i stuck the rest of the seeds into an old pickle jar and shoved the rolled up cloth inside.

     then i slowly filled it with water to get the water level up to the top.

     i stuck on the lid and gave it a good shaking to help redistribute everything.  after doing this the water level had lowered quite a bit, so i had to top off the water.

     after topping off the water, i resealed the lid and labeled it and put the date on it.  (July 15th).  and put it outside on my front porch to sit for the next month or so.  hopefully over this time these seed husks will dye the cloth!  if not then i will have had a pickle jar full of junk sitting on my front porch for a month, no big deal, i have had things sitting there longer!
    i had thought after that i probably should have rinsed the seeds first, oh well.

and the results....

     kinda a letdown.  i left it in there on my deck for a looooong time.  and it resulted in pretty much NOTHING!  ..except!  3 strange purple spots?

     what made these strange purple spots?  i have no idea, because i just dumped out the jar and dumped out all the seeds because they were kinda icky and smelly and not too pleasant.  if i would have carefully unrolled it i might have maybe been able to see what exactly was making contact in these exact spots that made the purple marks, but nope.

     maybe you need to simmer sunflower seed shells to extract any dye from them?  i know you need to simmer a lot of things to extract any usable dye from them?  who knows.  we get a lot of seed shells though, so i will probably try again, especially during our loooooooooooooooooong winter when there is lots of time to sit around and sort through seed shells.  fun stuff!

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