18. Sep, 2018

Dying with Lac Extract

Having mamaged to modeant my fabrics I finally managed to dye some silk and cotton with lac extract this morning. Lac is the scarlet, resinous excretion from a number of insects in the lac family. It dyes fabric sort of a magenta colour. I was very careful to monitor the temperature of the dye pot as silk doesn't like to be more than about 180° C - hence the temperature probe on the side of the pot. The silk and the cotton took the dye completely differently. The cotton grabbed the dye almost at once but the silk took much longer. The colours obtained were different too. The silk was a deep lilac whereas the cotton is quite a dark maroon almost. One end of one of the pieces of cotton has some marbling which I am wondering if I got all the mordant out of the fabric. I didn't have any linen to see what it would dye like. Crazy - when I dye with procion the marbled is the effect I am trying to achieve but with the cotton this time around I was looking for a straight colour to eco dye with leaves. It is all a learning process and this is the first time I have been through this extreme mordanting process to prepare cellulose fibres for eco dying in colour. The colour is brilliant. If I find time I will try and get some logwood dying done this afternoon. I couldnt find a source of logwood dye in NZ so ended up importing it. I wonder what customs thought of all those little packages marked dye stuff. The box had been opened but there were no problems apart from that so they must have been satisfied that it was all legitimate.