Frequently Asked Questions
Q: "What fabric should I use to make pillowcases?"
Q: Are mordants safe?
A: Many people turn to natural dyes because they are safe and nontoxic, so it is an important question to wonder whether the mordants that are used to fix the dyes are themselves safe. All the mordants we sell and use are trace minerals needed by the body. They are the same minerals included in any good mineral supplement.
Alum is the same as is sold in grocery stores for pickling. But I recommend that people never eat pickles with alum in them, that they also purchase alum-free baking powder, and do not use anti perspirants which deliver alum into the body via the skin.
The same applies to the tin, although it's not sold in stores, people who drink canned fruit juices get incredible qualtities from the tinned can. As for iron - this is the same stuff that's in Geritol and other cheap iron supplements. Unless you drank a concentrated solution, it's not going to be of any harm.
The most important thing is to use caution and minimize your exposure. It is important to always use rubber gloves when you are mordanting so nothing is absorbed through the skin of the hands. Additionally, make sure kids or pets do not accidently drink the solution (it doesn't taste good at all so they normally wouldn't).
It should be noted that in the distant past (200 years ago) many other minerals were used as mordants, especially in cotton printing. None of these are used today.
For more information please see the article "The Myth of the Bad Mordant."
Q: "Are you a Fair Trade business?"
A: The short answer is Yes. The long answer is that we are better than "fair trade". We always strive to help the people providing our products by paying them a fair price that they deturmine. We always pay the requested amount rather than trying to negotiate a bottom dollar price as most "fair trade" businesses do. This helps the people prodiving our products by providing them with more money for their produce and labor than they would receive otherwise.
Q: "I have read on another website that Ahimsa™ and "Peace" Silk actually lets hundreds of eggs and caterpillars die before they can produce silk."
A: That information is false. Commercial Peace silk is from cocoons from which the moth has freely emerged, to mate, lay eggs and die happy. The eggs produced are then used in future generations of silk; both Peace and standard.
My (Cheryl Kolander) personal moths lay about 50 eggs for each mating pair and all the eggs I produce from my special American Peace Silk strain are distributed around the country, mostly to school aged children who learn compassion for all living beings by raising them.
As for wild silk, the caterpillars and moths live in the wild and the cocoons are collected after the moth has emerged; their life cycle is totally natural and complete. The Eri silk is a wild strain that is semi-cultivated. Naturally The moths lay their eggs, or there would be no cycle for the next year.
All silk is currently endangered, both cultivated and wild. As an emisary for the silkworm species I ask that you support our efforts to continue to produce this awesome fabric.
Q: "I am looking for Instant Indigo, do you know where I might find it?"
A: Current "Instant Indigo" is now a synthetic dye and is not recommended as you must use Sodium Thio Sulphate to reduce it. When I wrote my book, real instant indigo was a freeze dried natural vat from Japan; it is no longer available. I would recommend that you use an Indigo Natural Fermentation Vat, my Indigo Kit Instructions can guide you through the process.