The Mad Dye-r: Bengala Dye Redux


Today I wanted to dye cheesecloth for my felting projects. So I decided to try the Bengala dyes from Loop of the Loom in NYC.  This time I purchased the fixer as the dye was very subtle last time.

For those of you who follow such things, Bengala dyes have been around a long time– think the caves of Lascaux.  These dyes are basically mud dyes or iron oxide and easy to use as they are eco-friendly. You can pour leftover dye into the earth ( or save it for another dye bath).

But once I had put all the cotton gauze and cheesecloth in the fixer bath, I decided to dye an old linen jacket from Blue Fish. It had stains but it is sacriligeous to get rid of Blue Fish so what to do?  I had read about turmeric in reading about natural dyes so I thought why not.


So into the dye pot — 5 tbl. Turmeric and some 2 tbs. of New Mexican red chile.  Fifteen minutes to create the dye once the water has been heated and spices added. Then one hour to soak the garment. Then out to the yard for a rinse.


Once rinsed off, the dyed cheesecloth dried off in the tree.


And the details if the jacket came out just fine.


I added 3 tbs. of apple cider vinegar as a fixative while the cloth was resting in the dye bath. I don’t know if that will work  to keep the dye from bleeding but we will see.  Some dyes will crock or stain when worn.  I am not sure if turmeric will crock  but we will see.


Bengals dyes from Loop of the Loom

Meanwhile, lest you think I forgot about the Bengala dyes, I did not.  I used the fixer bath before dyeing this time.  This time I also focused on the dyeing and not on various shapes in the dyed cloth.  Once out of the fix bath, I rinsed
the cloth and then put it in the washing machine to spin it dry as suggested.

It was then ready for the dye bath: I chose two– akane ( reddish) and a grey color called Fukagawa.  I washed the akane into the gauze and cheesecloth. Then left it to dry on the spa.


I also tried a bit of shibori dyeing with clamps and folding for patterns. 


The clamps on the grey cloth material.


And on the reddish cotton muslin.

Lots of sun will help fix the color of Bengala dyes, so there is nothing now to do but wait…


To be continued….


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