Monday, July 05, 2010

Been Busy.... Naturally!!

What a weekend!! Mum and I have been doing some natural dying and have managed to dye huge amounts and achieving a wealth of colours. The dye pots have now been exhausted... and so have we!!!

We started on day one with vats of Logwood (soaked in water for a few days previously), Cochineal (bashed before soaking) Alkanet (again soaked for a few days in water), Madder and Weld. We didn't really give the weld enough time to develop a good colour and got impatient so in went the (ordinary) onion skins with the weld! By the time the yarn went in we realised our mistake - next time the dye stuff really should be in old pairs of tights!! So many bits to pick off later!

Logwood is fantastic - beautiful purples! Cochineal gave good pink results, alkanet not so good greys (want to try again with the addition of vinegar), Madder gave good orange shades and the onions gave beautiful golden yellows as always.

Day 2 - The cochineal and alkanet were exhausted by now having had yarn in over night. The logwood had more dyestuff added (in a stocking) to recharge the pot and today we added a pinch of tin to brighten the colour. New dyes today were Brazilwood and Chamomile. We did try Purple Elder leaves which had been soaked in water for a few days and looked a promising colour which gave only a dull beige to the yarn. Also given a try was Golden hops (stems and leaves used fresh) which gave a wishy washy yellow to which the chamomile was added resulting in a far better yellow. Late on we added a pinch of tin to this and the Brazilwood which had been giving orange colours before but afterwards gave a lovely red shade. The madder was slowing down by now despite its added powder so it had a pinch of iron which gave us nice browns. Oh and how could I forget our red onions which have yet again given us a lovely green shade and after having a pinch of tin gave yet more rich tones of greeny yellow.

After all this were we done? Not at all!! Out came the indigo vat and in went what seemed like tonnes of fibre and yarns all coming out a beautiful blue. It really was magical watching the yarns which came out yellowy slowly turn blue - true alchemy! Still it dyed things blue and we got to the stage where we were tempted to throw our clothes in too but resisted mostly - Mum found a white top she wasn't keen on and we did a little tie-dyeing the results of which are still to be seen as it's still sitting in the vat with us too tired to do anything about it!!

Footnote - Must wear waterproof shoes next time and not cloggies!!