Monday, November 27, 2006

I dyed...of natural causes!

While on vacation from the silly day job, I tried a little natural first foray into natural dyeing actually.

So here is the photos from the dyeing session. The photo is larger than normal so that you may enjoy the splendiferous fabuliciousness. You may need to scroll down.

On the top, you will see the following fibers: Coburger Fushsschaf roving from Susann, a small skein of the CF that Little Hill spun on a spindle, and a bit of cashmere that I threw in, some merino/tussah handspun again courtesy of Susann, an alpace batt from Spooky SP, and finally the silk/cotton that Susann sent.....(perhaps I should have dubbed this post, the dye pot that Susann sent me!). The four on the left came out of the logwood pot, with the deep purple being the first and the rest following in order to the left. The two on the right were both dyed in osage orange also known as bois d'arc, with the rightmost going in and coming out first.

The bottom part of the photo is the jars of dye, already steeped and strained to a beautiful colored liquid. From left to right are: Osage orange, coreopsis, logwood, marigold, and amaranth. The coreopsis and the amaranth failed utterly to dye, and I won't be using them again. The Marigolds I have not used yet, as i ran out of fiber I wanted to dye.

Lessons learned:

1. Very carefully select your dyestuffs for the colors you would like. I went for alot of easy to plant dyestuffs and did not care for the color so much.

2. Be willing to try other dyestuffs that may not be used in the books you have. I found some plants in the empty lot that I think is woad, but it is too late in the season to get a blue. Nevertheless I made a dye pot by steeping the leaves and adding some soda ash to the barely colored liquid which then turned a deep that moment I was a bit scared to try the liquid.

3. Use multiple references on dyestuffs, I will post my reference library in another post.

Am I discouraged with my results? Absolutely not, if anything, I am looking forward to next year, and planning this winter to scour the earth for seeds to the plants that I would like. To that end, if anyone has ready access to seeds for woad and weld and can send me some harvested from your area, I would swap some of my beaded stitch markers with you. I have found some online, but swapping is way more fun!

I should also mention that I tried a quick experiment with cranberries last night, and got a lovely pink on the remainder of the CF that I plan to ply with the logwood CF. I hope to get more cranberries and try to develop a solid dye recipe. So look for photos of the resulting top, which is right this very moment drying in the shower.


Bezzie said...

I love the intensity of the colors you obtained!
I've tried dinking around with natural dyes myself but I can't ever get them to stick. It's still great fun though1

OldLadyPenPal said...

Amaranth! Coreopsis! What fantastic-sounding words!

Have you ever read Green Witch by Susan Cooper? I need to read that again.

Madame Purl said...

I never get disappointed either with my results - happy accidents. My latest was to actually cook the color right out - whoops left that one on too long.

Abigale said...

Gorgeous stuff! I've been wanting to try logwood myself - Dharma (which is local to me) lost it's supplier of natural dyestuff, and I just haven't gotten around to ordering any yet.

I haven't had a natural dyeday in ages... hmmmm, I have some time off coming up from my evil day job... hmmm

Have fun! Can't wait to see it all spun up!