Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Dyer's Knotweed Blues
I've realized that we're getting close to the end of our growing season. We could have a real frost anytime soon. So, not wanting to waste what I've grown and needing a diversion I've been harvesting the rest of the Dyer's Knotweed - polygonum tinctorium. I'm quite put out that the last bit of seed seems to have been misplaced in the clearing out of my studio as this stuff is now producing lots of pigment! Beautiful blues and lots of it.
It's a slightly different technique than processing woad, only in that you need to cook the leaves slowly to 160F before you can strain the leaves and oxidize the dye liquor. It is supposed to foam up like woad, but mine hasn't at all. This is the 3rd batch I've done this week and hopefully I'll have enough blue fibre to actually do something with, not just sample skeins.
I've only a few more indigotin urine fermentation vat samples to spin - wonderful colours and well worth the odours :) Spinning samples seems so fast and productive as you get the skein done in one evening! I've even remembered to label all the skeins - bonus!