Immerse Yourself in the Art of Sustainable Dyeing with us at Traceable Textiles

Immerse Yourself in the Art of Sustainable Dyeing with us at Traceable Textiles

The mesmerizing realm of sustainable dyeing

This week, we invite you to step into the incredible world of sustainable dyeing, a pivotal process at Traceable Textiles that blends meticulous setup with skillful execution. Katelin, our skilled natural dye chemist, leverages her extensive background in textile science to perfect the art of eco-conscious dyeing. Join us as we dive into the intricacies of producing the stunning natural dyes that breathe life into our handwoven blankets.

 Natural Dyeing Essential Setup: Mise en Place of Dyeing

Just like the art of preparing a fine meal requires precise setup, sustainable dyeing begins with a thoughtful "mise en place." Our essentials include:

    -A precise scale for dyestuff
    -Alum for mordanting
    -A neutral pH scouring agent
    -A reliable heat source and thermometer
    -Various dyestuffs and a notebook for observations
    -Special equipment for modifying with iron
    -Protective rubber gloves
    -Yarn and flagging tape for securing skeins
    -Drying racks, S hooks, and an electric spinner
    -An abundance of water and a rubber bin for skein  management
    -A sieve for separating dyestuff from the dye bath
     -Stainless steel dye pots and spoons
    Gathering these tools required special considerations, especially sourcing the costly stainless steel pots, but essential for their non-reactive quality.



    Dyeing at the Studio: A Step-by-Step Process

    Our process is as follows:

    • Preparation: Skeins are opened, secured to prevent tangling, and scoured to remove impurities that could affect dye uptake.
    • Mordanting: To ensure colour consistency, depth of shade, and light fastness, skeins are mordanted, a step as crucial as it is water-intensive.
    • Dye Bath Creation: For example we use tansy flowers and leaves, an invasive species harvested responsibly, to create our dye bath. This choice reflects our commitment to sustainability and utilizing local resources.
    • Dyeing: Yarn is pre-wet, added to the dye bath, and heated to just below simmering to achieve the perfect hue.
    • Rinsing and Modifying: After dyeing, skeins are rinsed until clear. If modifying with iron, we take extra precautions to avoid unwanted staining.

    Katelin's meticulous approach, from scouring to the final rinse, reveals the labor-intensive nature of this craft. Her dedication ensures each piece of dyed wool is beautiful and sustainable.


    Sustainable Practices: Our Core

    Incorporating sustainably dyed wool with natural wool colours through our special blending technique highlights our commitment to eco-friendly practices. 

    As Katelin transitions to her new role as Curator of History at the Glenbow Museum, we reflect on how her contributions have enriched Traceable Textiles. Her role as a dye chemist and curator exemplifies the broad impact of sustainable practices on both our local and global communities.

    Join Our Journey

    Follow us on Instagram @traceabletextiles to witness how art and activism merge to forge a brighter, colourful, and more sustainable future. We are excited to share our stories and hear yours. What does sustainable dyeing mean to you? 


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