> I am a fabric marbler and needed to ask your expert advice. I purchased
> some pickling alum from a Mennonite grocery store and I was wondering if
> there is any difference between presoaking fabric for marbling with that
> or with the alum I purchased from the dyehouse. My college age son
> helped me do some chemistry experiments to see if both alums were the
> same or different. We couldn't remember what to do after we got started
> (his chemistry class was 3 years ago) so we tried several things. First
> we burned both and they both bubbled. Then we put spoonfuls for each
> alum into 2 separate containers of bleach, vinegar, ammonia, water,
> alcohol. I think it was the alcohol that made the pickling alum rubbery.
> Anyway, at the end of the experiments we decided that we have no idea if
> they are the same or different in chemical composition. My last marbling
> session seemed washed out with color not being what it should be but then
> I was using several months old methyl cel. I use 20 gallons of methyl
> cel and don't marble all the time as I am a quilter, teacher, etc. so I
> usually marble all at once and then not for awhile. Is pickling alum the
> same and therefore interchangeable with marbling alum? The cost and
> shipping makes the pickling alum more affordable.
> Linda Hall
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Just off the very top of my head, and at the end of my days traveling....I¹d
say they are probably the same. The pickling alum would be food grade and
³cleaner² AlSO4 is what you want and there are many levels of
purity....which makes no difference for alumming for marbling because the
impurities are insoluble. Happy post Thanksgiving!!
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