Thursday, 24 July 2008

Indigo, woad and greens, Oh My!

I have been still playing with my "sig" vats. I wanted to see what 2nd cutting of late season Lady's Bedstraw would give. At Karen's dye day last Saturday, she got a pale yellow from hers. I chopped mine right back and dyed some alum mordanted shetland with it. I thought I got a pale yellow like hers, but it was really just uneven, with much darker yellows on the bottom of the pot. Now I think it really has to do with amounts of fresh dye plants to fibre. Most people don't realize how much plant matter it really takes - 100%-300% WOG to get a good colour.
This is my large dye pot. It was packed with Bedstraw so that you could hardly push it down. I don't know how much it weighed as it had been raining and was wet. I dyed about 100 grams of fibre with it.

I ended up not taking a picture of the yellow but shoving it in the indigo sig vat. At the same time I put some Weld dyed roving and some Dyer's Greenweed roving from last year in the Woad sig vat. This is what I pulled out today! Pretty greens. The yellow green is the weld, the paler green is the Dyer's greenweed. The green on the blue bucket lid is the Lady's Bedstraw. You can tell how uneven the colour
was by the uneven green colour. In real life it is almost turquoise in colour. By the time it is carded and spun, the colour will even out.
Now to figure out what I did with my hand cards. I keep hoping the "carder" faery will leave a drum carder under my pillow. As uncomfortable as that might seem, it would be well worth the loss of sleep.
I harvested 3 of these lovely yellow tomatoes two days ago. I had them devoured before I thought that I should have shown them off. They are very sweet and low acid. Quite yummy. This one also only lasted as long as it took to photograph. The taste of fresh tomatoes is so much better than the starchy hard things we get here for 10.5 months of the year.

I can't believe I didn't take a photo - but I made the cutest little kid's brocade kirtle with a lightweight cotton chemise for a friend. The whole thing is machine washable, with adjustable shoulder straps and a huge hem, suitable for several years of growth. And I didn't take a picture of it. sigh.. If anyone going to Pennsic sees Joanna's Sydney in a pretty gold and red brocade kirtle, please take a picture for me.

I've been sewing for myself - a half finished lovely linen gown, based on a Moselund tunic.
Why is it half finished? I lifted the dress up and it's heavy. The wonderful linen weighs a ton. I think it will be too warm for Pennsic. The Pennsylvania heat and humidity would make it unbearable, so I don't know if I will finish it right away or not. I'm also making men's Elizabethan stuff - blech - don't feel like sewing it, but need to. I really just want to warp up the loom and weave.


Helen said...

I think the greens you got are yummy - and I have never tried dyeing with ladies bedstraw tops even though I have had them for years but I must try it thanks!

connie said...

Yes, lovely colors!I´m from Argentina and I´m also dying with natural dyes.
Do you have a good source from where to buy seeds ( indigofera, madder, etc)I found some on the web, but I have no idea about the quality of the seeds. Your help is very much appreciated! Connie

Nina said...

Richter's herbs in Canada has madder, weld and woad seeds, amongst a wide variety of plants suitable for dyeing. I've had decent luck with them germinating quite easily. The Dyer's Knotweed - polygonum tinctorium seed was a trade. I've no idea where to get it commercially. Indigofera is another plant which I've not found seeds for either. Since it needs a much warmer climate than we have here, I've not worried too much about trying to grow it.

connie said...

Thanks o much for the info!