Mordanting Experiment – part 1

Last week I finished the first part of a longer mordanting experiment. I wanted to test how different mordanting methods affect how light fast a skein of yarn is, or whether there isn’t much difference across the methods overall. I used 2 x 20 g BFL mini skeins for each of the methods and labelled each duo with a different colour tag so they could be identified. The alum solution used was 10% alum / WOF and 8% cream of tartar / WOF. I used Jenny Dean’s method of rhubarb leaf mordant preparation.

The Mordanting

I prepared 2 x 20g mini skeins of BFL yarn in each of the following ways:

1 month soaking in an alum and COT solution (green tag)

1 week soaking in alum solution (orange tag)

24 hours soaking in alum solution (dark blue tag)

1 hour in alum mordant (brown tag)

simmered in alum mordant for 1 hour then allowed to cool (pale blue)

soaked in Rhubarb leaf mordant for 24 hours (white tag)

No mordant.

Soaking the yarns

All the skeins were soaked in plain water after being mordanted as some had dried out.

The dyeing

Seventy grams of Madder was soaked in 4l of water for 24hours, then simmered for 60 minutes at 60 degrees and left to cool. The madder dye was then strained to remove the bits of madder. All the mini skeins were added to the dye bath and simmered for 60 minutes at 60 degrees. The dye bath was allowed to cool. Then the skeins were rinsed and dried outside.

Mordanting experiment - the yarns are dyed in madder

Part 2 of the mordanting experiment

The duos of yarn were then separated. One of each colour tag is hanging in a south-west facing window, and the others are in a closed box in the office. At the end of the year I plan to compare the colours of the yarns to each other and in their coloured tag duos. In this way I hope to see if a particular mordanting method has better lightfast qualities than the others.

I’ll let you know how I get on….

Your Comments

    Write a Reply or Comment

    Your email address will not be published.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.