Thursday, April 25, 2013

Coffee With My Walnuts Please

No, I am not having dessert, just a bit of kitchen dying.
Coffee and Walnuts Shibori lining
Kitchen dying has been one of my activities this past year. Wanting to line a knitted scarf with silk, I decided to have my fun in the kitchen rather than downstairs in the dye lab.

The silk was from the bolt, so I gave it a good machine wash and dry to shrink it and get any sizing out. I had a few hard lessons in this department earlier this year. 

 I then wetted the silk out, brewed a good pot of coffee, mixed it and some vinegar in a pan and simmered the silk on low for about an hour.

We had some very old black walnuts in a shed. I removed the husks ( I used the walnuts whole), simmered them in water for one hour, cooled the mixture, and strained the liquor.  

Meanwhile, I simmered the now beautiful coffee tanned silk in a solution of alum and cream of tartar for a mordant,* then let it then simmer in the walnut solution for an hour and let it cool. Finally, I took the band wrapped marbles out to see the pattern.

During this process, I was pretty careful to make sure the dye baths never boiled. I try to baby the silk. 

I am very happy with the results. This is a perfect subtle pattern for my scarf lining. 


Section of the scarf that I lined.   The lining  covers up the embroidery in the back.  The sheep are some of my handspun from my Shetland flock

I now have a liter of Black Walnut juice in my freezer in case I have to do this again! 

*a substance used before the application of a dye, possessing the ability to fix the dye in textiles. Mordants can also effect the tone that the dye takes on.  There are other types of mordants, alum is just a very safe one.