Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Where the Peeriewinkle goes a-dyeing

Who knew that dyeing was so much fun? I never really took the time to do dyeing, because hey, I know people who can do it so much better than me! And with the natural dyed yarns I saw, most of them were yellow, or a dirty colour of yellowy green. But, I also know you can achieve great result with trying and experience... and I am amazed at the things that some wool dye artists can do.

When I invited my spinning group over for a Sunday Fun Day, the idea was quickly coined to do some dyeing - with natural dyes! I ordered allum (mordant) and hydrosulphite (for the blue), plus some madder root, and then went scouring the area for plants to use. In my garden, I had sown some woad early this year, and the slugs were nice enough to leave me some. I had a handful to use, not much, but hopefully enough to give the wool a bit of colour...

In the end, I used tansy, madder root, woad, alchemilla, nettle, lichen and onion peel. And the results definitely made us wanting to dye more. We ran out of allum, otherwise we would have been there all night...

The night before, I had already put the tansy on the fire, leaving it to steep during the night. Early in the morning, I picked the woad and put it in a 90 degree bath to soften.


The wool for the dying is sitting in the mordant water. And the alchemilla soup is nearly done.


In the meantime, I also made a little madder 'jam', which then went on the fire as well.


I squeezed out the woad and then added the soda to the woad water. You see, only a handful...


Then it was time to aerate. You could see the green soup becoming darker and darker.


A selection of the plants brought along, and the pan mayhem in the kitchen...


More pans, more wool and a big pan with 'dye soup'.


Sjoukje in her 'dyeing outfit'! She brought a huge box of acid dyes, and had lots of knowledge of dyeing, which came in handy. She prevented us from blowing up the kitchen with our ammonia fumes...


Madder root, tansy and woad...


Onion peel...

And the acid-dye teal. I've got lots of this in polwarth and schwarzkopf, enough for a nice cardigan!


We also did some microwave dyeing. A few skeins went in as did my sock blank. I dabbed teal on it, and then sprinkled it with some other dye granules. It gave a really fun effect.


While the pans were on the fire, we also did some carding. Great fun! And a great way to use up those odd bits of roving.


Gradient carding is so much fun! I started out with the amethyst...


... and then also made some aquamarine and amber. Lots to spin for the coming weeks (or months!)...


I've already ordered a big jar of allum, and I've seen great dye results with reed tops, so I'll be off to the dye kitchen again this weekend. And there's still a few boxes of pre-dyed wool to card, so I'll be keeping myself busy for a while!

- The recipe I used for the woad can be found here. It is in Duivelsblauw