Natural Dyeing with Susanne Grosjean

I had a great time at a workshop on March 9 with Susanne Grosjean of Hog Bay Handwoven Rugs.

Here is a sampler of the range of dyes she works with. We had four dye pots going: black walnut, madder, weld, and cochineal.

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Here are the results on the white fabrics I brought to dye:

Duppioni silk from Fiddlehead Artisan’s Supply

Silky merino from Beautiful Silks in Australia

Silk noil from Beautiful Silks in Australia

Silk remnant from Beautiful Silks in Australia

And some yarn samples (excluding black walnut which got overlooked):

The weld dyepot was a disappointment. It started out much brighter but devolved to a plainer tan shade. The cochineal’s brilliance may diminish after washing. We got to bring home leftover dye. I’m really interested in using some of the black walnut to dye papers.

Comments on the fabrics:

  • The duppioni silk has a shiny Wow factor, but it catches on the hands especially during the winter months’ of dry skin.
  • Some of the silky merino colors are quite beautiful, but I’m not enamored by the stretchiness of this knitted fabric. Some of the colors remind me too much of skin tones, like underwear colors, but I don’t think that will bother me when they’re incorporated into other work.
  • The silk noil is my favorite material. It has such a substantial feel in the hand and takes color really well.
  • The silk remnant with the intricate design was a surprise. I liked it much better after dyeing than before. Something about the dyeing process removed its sheen and made the surface texture stand out more.

I’m thinking I will use these materials to further enhance my “clearing in the woods” shawl with leaves and additional stitching.

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