Monday, October 15, 2007

Fun fun fun

It's fun for me to look at my bloglines and see that my blog has a new post (then I start thinking that I have been blogging in my sleep) and then I realize that my sister has posted!!
Then I come right over to see what she has written.
Hi there!!

Oh, and go look at her Etsy store--If you click on the jewelry pictures on the right sidebar it will take you right there.
Go and buy her stuff--she has a ton of it there.

Anyways--my blogging today is about dyeing of the natural kind.

I have to dye, spin and knit something for a charity project through my Knitting Guild but the dye has to be all natural. Others in the guild are using food colouring and/or ammonia with copper but I wanted to try something different.
Inspired by a forum on Ravelry, I went looking for some things around the yard.

This is what I came up wtih in about 5 minutes:

There are sage leaves, marigold flowers, black walnut shells and a mysterious red leaf that I thought was red sumac but I have no idea.
So, I filled the jars with boiling water and let them steep overnight.

Intended to be: red, green, yellow and brown.
Might be weird, but in nature all these colours work together.
The sage ended up being yellow rather than green, so I found some fiddlehead ferns and used them instead, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I used Alum as a mordant and used it to soak the wool and in the simmering liquid:

The red and yellow were my first tests. The marigold gave a beautiful brilliant yellow that will spin up and be wonderful.
The red leaf was a dark purple in the jar and the simmering liquid:

however, when I rinsed it--it turned a strange green/grey.

It reminds me of the results of doing ammonia/copper dyeing that oxidizes once removed from the liquid.
Not sure if this is what happened or not. I did leave the roving in the liquid overnight to cool and to keep steeping--but the colour was gone.

Next up was the fiddlehead ferns and the walnuts.
The walnuts didn't give me any colour except for the palest brown--so I added coffee in a filter and simmered some more.

I'm letting that cool overnight and then I will dry it and see the colour tomorrow.

The fiddleheads gave me another version of yellow which I guess will have to do.

I'm excited to see what the finished yarns and product will look like-but I'm worried that the brown, green/grey, yellow and yellow might look a little weird. If I think it's going to look like nature barf, I might just use some food colouring to make it pretty and move on.

I'm having fun and if anyone has some suggestions for natural dyes, let me know.

If you want to see more pictures I have created a set on my Flickr.

So, that's my post for today.
I tried some knitting last night and my wrists were fine for a while--I lay down to knit because I was tired and both fells asleep and realized that knitting while laying down is not very ergonomic.
So, there will be more knitting, just not the knitting/sleeping variety.


cdnbull said...

I think the yellows and soft browns might make nice neutral yarn. I would love to see how it finishes up.

dragon knitter said...

walnuts need to steep for a long time before they give a decent color. if i remember rightly, they have to stink before they do well (sorry!)