Shaking things up a bit…. for me anyway.

I always seem to do my eco prints with the same process these days…

1. soak fabric in sea salt water

2. dip the leaves in rusty egg vinegar rain water and place on fabric

3. roll around a copper (or sometimes iron) pipe

4. heat in water, either a large pot or a pressure cooker

Why am I always doing this way? Because I’ve had nice results I suppose.

Today… while I’m supposedly cleaning house for company tomorrow, I decided to do one of the tee-shirts that I’d soaked in soy milk. Just as is (I normally would have also soaked it in washing soda, and then soaked it in sea salt water).

I asked myself….. what if you don’t do that? So I didn’t!

I took the shirt and dampened it in rain water….. threw some eucalyptus leaves on it and rolled it up, without a pipe or stick, and tossed it into the pressure cooker along with a little madder dye. Then I went back to doing housework while it ‘cooked’.

And the results are not that bad!

IMG_3395_1 IMG_3392_1 IMG_3390 IMG_3391_1What mainly prompted this ‘experiment’ was the question in my mind of whether  I ‘had’ to soak the shirt in washing soda. And I guess I don’t.

I have a couple of other soy soaked shirts that I will take on a road trip in a couple of weeks….. I’m helping my daughter Lilly move to Portland (sigh, now ALL of my children will be far away). On this road trip we will be passing through northern California and I am going to gather eucalyptus along the way and bundle the shirts with what I find. They will become a memento of my road trip.



18 thoughts on “Shaking things up a bit…. for me anyway.

  1. Julie, these are so lovely!!! So very lovely. Really like the story that goes with them too. One by one your family heads to the Pacific Northwest. Now all three of your grown up kids will be in Portland. How handy for visiting. I wonder who will be next. Julie, we are only a few minutes right off the freeway, Interstate 5 🙂 I would so love to see your beautiful face if you have time.

    • Thanks Sheri!
      True….. they will all be in Portland 😦
      AND John is going to retire this year, and he’s talking about moving to Portland too!
      Jeph and I will be the only ones left here by next year.
      Not sure on our route up to Portland…. I know that the first day we are driving 16 hours!! Arghhh! My poor ‘ol bum! We are going to stay at a great little place in Little River, Ca called “Sunlit Shanti” that Lilly found through Airbnb. A little one room ‘cottage’ on an organic farm.
      After that we will drive up the coast….. stopping for photos and exploring a bit.
      But we may come back inland when we hit Oregon…. I’d love to see you, and Eugene! The itinerary is totally in Lilly’s hands though…. since it’s her trip. I’ll let you know what’s happening 🙂
      I do hope to spend at least one day in Portland…. to visit with Emily, Cooper and Ellie. I fly home on Valentine’s Day.
      A short trip…. I rearranged my days off so that I would have 5 days together.
      Big Hugs to you!

  2. Great results, Julie. I’ve gotten so far away from eco dyeing…haven’t done any in a couple years. Love to see what others are doing, though. Have a good trip to Portland!

    • Thanks Wendi….. yes, nature keeps us in a ‘what will happen” mode of expectation and excitement!
      The soy soaked cotton shirts I’m going to bring on my road trip with Lilly probably will be soaked in the ocean before I bundle them…… then they will rest in their bundles until I get to Portland, where I can either steam or boil them (unless it takes us longer to get there than anticipated!).
      I look forward to your next bundles!

  3. Hi   It was a neat experiment and love the outcome. I am going to be in Portland tomorrow until the Feb 2nd. I guess we missed each other. Have a nice trip and all the wonderful experiment and leaf gathering.   Best to you Melinda Tai   

    • Hi Melinda
      I’m actually only going to be in Portland for a day, at the most. The bulk of the vacation is the road trip helping my daughter move up there.
      We’ll be passing through your neck of the woods on the first day of the trip. The 16 hour drive day. It’s while we are on that long leg of the journey that I hope I can convince Lilly to stop and let me gather eucalyptus leaves! We will need to get out and stretch our legs anyway!
      Thanks for the well wishes!

  4. Can I help ” convince”Lilly to stop for leg stretching and eucalyptus gathering!! ?? Love seeing your ringing and dyeing and hearing what’s happening. Seattle is only2 plus hours more on the freeway..if you guys head this way at some point how great it would be to see you again..meanwhile, happy road trip etc…

    • She will stop…. we need to stretch every once in a while!
      True…. Seattle is not so far from Portland. But I am more likely to head that way with Jeph, than with the kids.
      I would love to see you again! Next time I’m coming up that way I’ll let you know.
      Thanks for the well wishes on the road trip!

  5. Dear Julie, you are on the road I guess, be safe, both of you. Hope the journey turns as expected and you will find treasures along. As for the washing soda soak – perhaps, it helps with stabilizing the prints? more than the quality of them, which already is outstanding. Love, M.

  6. So interesting to hear about your process. I have never used washing soda at all. Perhaps I should give it a try! You’re getting beautiful outcomes from both processes…

  7. They did come out beautifully didn’t they? I don’t know if you’ve found out yet but, maybe, just maybe, not having used the washing soda sees it fade quicker?

    I only have 1 daughter who isn’t quite 7 yet but I can imagine the dread of her leaving home. Enjoy the trip & look for award to a safe return & what the eucalyptus gives you 🙂

  8. Hi Julie Hope your trip went well and all the family are thriving 🙂 Washing soda …hmmm never tried that…..but I have used soy milk. What I found with the soy milk was that the print was lovely and I left it almost a month before I washed it ….it smelt a bit and I found that hard to get rid of …I guess with the constant washing to get the smell out the prints faded… maybe washing soda is the way to go. Although I do soak my fabrics in baking soda overnight ….interesting stuff all this . Are you still thinking of doing a get together in September?

    • Thanks Sheila….. the road trip did go well, although I did a really really poor job at helping Lilly with the driving 😦
      I’m not convinced that washing soda is necessary…… I’m still experimenting, trying to do without it, on my cottons and linens. The idea of using one less ‘contaminant’ in my dyeing process is alluring to me.
      It Is interesting stuff!! So much to learn….. it’s never ending!
      I want to do the little get together still….. but am running into a small conflict (or perhaps a BIG conflict!). I only get so much time off a year from my job…. and with Jeph winning a grant for his music, he is thinking about the possibility of a trip to Peru, to record sounds down there. He is still working out the logistics of it. But if he is able to come up with the trip as an actuality, not just a dream, then I would be able to tag along with him!! He would pay my way!! And the thought of heading to Peru is so very exciting to the weaver in me!
      I’ll keep you updated.

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