Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dyeing with roots, leaves, and flowers

I've been doing some dyeing with natural dyes lately, using roots, leaves, and flowers. Below is a dye pot made with goldenrod flowers. In it is some Cormo wool roving, this is the second round of dyeing with this same pot of dye. The first round was some Teeswater wool yarn:

Here is some Cormo wool roving that has already been dyed with Japanese indigo leaves from my garden. It's going to go into the goldenrod pot next, but since it wasn't mordanted when it was dyed with the Japanese indigo, it's being mordanted now in this pot with alum and cream of tartar:

And here are the two rovings hanging to dry after dyeing and overdyeing with the goldenrod, they are on the far left and the far right. In the middle are six skeins of Teeswater wool yarn which has been dyed with lady's bedstraw roots (peach); green = apple tree leaves overdyed with spinach + kale, then overdyed with a weak pot made with logwood extract; and finally goldenrod (yellow, first dipping):

You can see that the yellow from the goldenrod on the Cormo roving (left) is much different than that on the Teeswater yarn (right). Different types of wool will take dyes differently, and colors in each successive dipping in the same dye pot will be different:

On the right below, is the green that was achieved by overdyeing the Japanese indigo with the goldenrod (third dipping in the goldenrod pot). It's a very different green from the crazy combination used to achieve the green on the Teeswater yarn:

It's relatively easy to dye one skein all sorts of colors using weak acid dyes because they can be painted or squirted onto the yarn and then set in the microwave or oven. It's a bit trickier to dye a skein of yarn multiple colors using natural dyes. I did it by dunking the part of the skeins that I wanted to dye a particular color into the dye pot (there are six hanging together there), and then repeating with successive colors. It took a few days to get all of the colors onto the skeins: 

One end of the skeins in the dye pot:

There are so many things that grow around here that make wonderful natural dyes, and too little time to spend over my dye pots!


Anonymous said...

Fascinating! Thank you for posting this. I'm so interested in all of these processes. I particularly like the closeup of the Teeswater in the dye. It has such a beautiful sheen. I'll be watching to see if the Cosmo gets posted too because that is a glorious fiber as well. Keep up the good work!

ICQB said...

Hi Katelyn!

You're welcome, and thanks!