Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not to be Eclipsed

....This is a story of our solar-moon baths.....

It was about this time last year, when Dominique said to me: ......listen to this....I had a strange dream....the moon spoke to me and asked,....'what is all this fuss about the solar baths, don't you know that I work as hard and give better colors than the sun'......

.....Not being the type of people who take their dreams lightly, we pondered this for weeks......The moon was not happy and we knew it, but what were we to do?.....Carrying heavy buckets and jars, up and down the stairs to the roof, all night long, and hiding from the sun, just to please the moon, that would not work, there surely must be a balance...

....The answer never came, or so we thought....

In the last post I tried to illustrate the fact that solar mordants uptake the dye as well as yarns mordanted by any other method.....Here I would like to show how duration plays into the uptake of mordants and later into the uptake of dyes by these solar mordanted yarns via a quick hot bath.

The samples below illustrate uptake on selected inorganic and organic mordants. The yarns themselves have been mordanted, left to right for unmordanted, 1, 3, 7, 14 and 28 days....

Himalayan rhubarb 100% wof

Copper at 4%

Amla 100% wof

Tannic Acid 10%

Iron 4%

Pomegranate 100% wof

Now here are some examples of dye uptake on solar yarn, mordanted for different durations, in quick hot dye baths.  (Sorry for the fiber quality, when I was running these comparative dye uptake sample baths I did not pay any attention to the water temperature.)

Illustrated below you will find 25% alum, with left to right, 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 28 day exposure to solar mordant.

Madder, after an alcohol soak:

Logwood, after an alkaline soak:

So far we are getting best results, be it mordanting or dyeing at the 28 day mark, a full lunar cycle....but for the most part the 14 day mordant baths also give excellent results.....

....So yes solar works best, but in our experience, only if it dances to some some lunar rules.....

Thank you sweet moon......


  1. Simply beautiful colours!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  2. thanks liz,
    hopefully they will even get better when we get around to the actual dyeing.....
    ..and yes time does seem to be the key, we have to give the moon its due.....
    all best and good luck with dyeing,

  3. The depth of your endeavour is to be celebrated in this world of now, now, now!

    Wishing you both continued success,


  4. thanks for that guy....
    it is always good to hear from you....

    hopefully one day you can get off of that boat and visit us here in the mountains, it is quite beautiful..