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. 

1 commentaire:

  1. I'm curious what you ended up doing with the cardoon. There is one growing by the side of the road near my home that I've been eyeing.