samedi 18 juin 2011

1000g of wool

I dyed nine skeins of wool and one 100g hank of roving today. 

Coreopsis tinctoria
 The first three hanks were dyed with various flowers from my dye garden.  I've been cutting and drying them for about two weeks now.  They were a mix of coreopsis tinctoria, yellow and orange marigolds, dyers camomile and a couple of Mexican zinnias.  They were a mix of dried and fresh flowers so weighing them wouldn't have mattered.  I'm guessing that there were about 100g of flowers total.

First and second mixed flower dye extractions

 The first extraction produced a vibrant orange.  Two subsequent baths produced softer and duller peachy oranges. I used the exhaust baths to dye 100g of Shetland roving.
The best surprise of the day was a test I did with some dried chocolate cosmos.  The sample is a deep olive green with warm orange overtones.

Chocolate cosmos test

I made a few more baths with fermented lichen liquors. 

Dyeing with fermented lichen liquor

I saved the leftover lichen for a second fermentation.

The leftover lichen

The last bath was a bit of an experiment.  It was an "ice flower" bath made from dark purple petunias and pansies.  I got the idea from India Flint's book "Eco Colour".  The flowers are frozen and then boiling water is poured over then.  The dye is massaged out and then the skein of wool is added.  It's not a light fast dye, but I though I'd give it a try.  The bath was a bright blue until I added the skein of wool.  Apparently these flower dyes are very sensitive to ph.

Ice flower bath
All of the yarns I dyed today were premordanted with alum.

mardi 7 juin 2011

Weld and Broom

I've been very busy preparing for our very first wool festival here in the Lot.  Thankfully, I've found some time this week for dyeing.  It always helps to have a large stash of mordanted wool just waiting for the pot. 
A few coreopsis flowers drying in a bowl.
 The other day, while on a drive, I saw out of the corner of my eye a large patch of weld growing on the side of the road.  Upon closer inspection I discovered that it was in fact two patches of weld, and so I cut a few stalks and left the rest to reseed itself.  The weld plants were easily taller than I am and my husband laughed as I tried to cram them into our car.
 Weld has long been used by dyers as a reliable source of yellow, and in tandem with woad or indigo to make a bright green.  I cut up my treasure and threw it into a dye pot.  After three extractions I had enough dye liquor to dye about 500g of wool.
The weld bath
It didn't come out quite as expected.  I've never used weld before, but I thought it would give me a good solid yellow with no green undertones, instead I got something closer to celadon than yellow.  It's a lovely color, but there's also a surprising amount of variegation.

The second weld bath

For my second dye pot I chose the use the perfumed yellow pea like flowers of the broom plant.  I gathered about 300g of just the flowers and made up a bath.  The bath didn't look very strong, but it was full of dye.  I dyed a 100g skein of merino silk laceweight. 

A skein dyed with broom drying in the shower
 Then I decided to make a second bath with the same flowers and I added it to the first bath.  I threw in two skeins of bulky weight merino wool.  They came out a bright buttery yellow.  There was obviously still some dye left in the bath so I added two more skeins of wool,  some sport weight merino.  It's already a nice delicate yellow.  I can't believe how much dye I've gotten out of so few flowers.  I'll have to go out and gather more. 
I also managed to find some time to start collecting plant materials to sell. 

Everlasting flowers drying
 The yarrow and the everlasting are both in bloom right now, and they make nice squat aromatic bundles. 

Everlasting in bloom
 My fig was sending up too many suckers, so I hung up a bunch of fig leaves to dry. 

Fig and cardoon leaves drying
My cardoons are about to flower, so It's the perfect time to take a few leaves.  My house is fast turning into an upside down garden.