Wednesday, 10 September 2008

More pretty colours!

The UK dye samples are done. The Madder root and Weld were from Kentwell and the Dyer's Greenweed was harvested from the wild. Funny thing is that the colours are pretty much exactly what I have gotten with Canadian grown plants. Yay - huge amount of excitment as the colour correlations spanning across continents is very good news to someone who is interested in European archaeological textiles and reconstruction or experimental archaeology.

I'm in the middle of trying to use up my Dyer's Knotweed. I did a first experiment in August and had a rather pretty but pale ice blue colour. Because we could have frost anytime now, I just started picking leaves. I had about 600 grams of them. I followed Rita Buchanan's recipe from A Dyer's Garden and so far I seem to be having great results.

It is a bit different than working with woad. Woad foams up wildly and the blue pigment dances on the top of the foam. My two experiments with Dyer's Knotweed show nearly no foam whatsoever. I ended up using my stick blender to add air and only realized I was oxidizing pigment when the darned thing turned blue! No, I don't think it will come out but it is only used to make soap. The recipe said that 8 ounces of leaves would dye 2-4 ounces of wool. I put in 58 grams of wool and it dyed it a lovely blue - I then added more wool and it dyed it the same lovely blue. I've added more and more fibre and it's still dyeing it. I'm using merino roving and I'm running low. I'm betting I have enough of this blue fibre to actually do something with though, instead of just spinning samples!

Look what I found in the garden today! Woo Hoo - the apples are ripe! I had almost forgotten about them in the rush of the past few weeks but they practically glowed beside the white Rose of Sharon. Aren't they beautiful though?

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