Sunday, May 14, 2017

Rust Dyeing

In an effort to not feel left out by skipping the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival a few of us got together for fiber pursuits.

First up, was some rust dyeing.  We wrapped some rusty bits in silk scarf blanks and then simmered the scarves in a pot of yellow onion skins overnight.


I tried a new to me technique using steel wool.  I got the idea from here.  Whenever I dye anything I start by washing it in Synthrapol.  With rust dyeing there is no need to pre-mordant.


The materials needed are basic, gloves, an empty wine bottle, a package of steel wool, some string or rubber bands, white vinegar and water.

1.  Wear gloves, the steel wool can cause small cuts on your hands.  I might have learned this the hard way.

2.  Unfold the steel wool into long strips and wrap around the wine bottle.

3.  Take the wet scarf and wrap it in a spiral up to the neck of the wine bottle.

4.  Secure with rubber bands or string.  I used an old rusty strip of metal.

5.  Place the bottle down in a bucket and spray with solution of 50% water and 50% white vinegar.  Try to saturate all parts of the bottle.


6.  Let sit 24 hours and then unwrap.  Following the instructions on other sites the first scarf I let sit for 4 days, spraying it each night with additional water and vinegar.  Unfortunately, the silk had a few holes where the rust "ate" through the fabric.  The second scarf I left wrapped for only 24 hours and it was intact with good rust printing.


I then folded the scarves between two blocks of wood and gave them a quick dip into the indigo pot.  Easy as pie!

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