The secret dye..

Elina from Neulakko asked if I had some good fabric dealers. She was going to make a hood for Mervi. It was supposed to be a surprise for her. Mervi was going to be a laurel in the SCA, and the hood was meant as an elevation present from her friends. Elina asked if I wanted to make an embroidery for the hood as well. Many of Mervi’s friends were going to make one embroidery each, and then Elina was going to attach them to the hood. I really like embroidery, but my free stitching skills are poor. Therefore I asked if I could contribute instead with some plant dyed fabric for the hood. Elina was very pleased by my suggestion.

What colours to choose? Mervi likes strong colours, so anything light and soft was out of the question. A strong and colourful person needs colours to match. The fabric I had was a tabby with a light grey warp and a light pink/lilac for weft. From a distance it looked like heather. I decided it needed some cochenille.  I only had 10% but I thought that would be enough. Here it is in the mordant bath. I used 10 % alum and 5% wine stone.

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Here I get some help. Sixten is grinding and Allis is stirring the powder though a sieve.
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IMG_5029.JPGAdd hot water, boil for 1 hour. IMG_5032.JPGA thick dye. 

IMG_5033.JPGThe dye is, as always, one of the most forgiving ones to dye with. Quick, stain free, strong, even and easy to rinse off.
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Quite the opposite to the other colour I chose, indigo. I thought blue would be ”to much” combined with the strong pink. So I started with a yellow fabric, which I had dyed before. I still can’t remember if I used clover, birch or something else. But my husband says birch, so I might just believe him. Blue on yellow is green. Green and pink is a good combination.
Indigo is always fun to work with, but a bit tricky indoors, in a small kitchen, with a white interior that stains easily…
The fabric needs to be thorougly, evenly wet when starting. Here is some more about how to dye with indigo.
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IMG_5135.JPGThe two pieces.IMG_5136.JPG

This is Elina, working in the hood in the Turku medieval market. Mervi thinks the hood is for me🙂
Here is Mervi’s blog post about the event where she became a laurel.
Elina is holding the unfinished hood. Soon to be Mervi’s.

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