Monday, 1 December 2008

Winter Dyeing

I decided that I needed to do some dyeing. The previous blue, green, grey and orange fine wools needed to be augmented with yellow, rusty red and a dark colour - dark grey or black. The latter will have to wait until I get an appropriate coloured roving however I thought that perhaps the Dyer's Greenweed might still yield some pigment, despite it being late November and having had well below normal temperatures with lots of snow.

After 2 trips to the storage locker, I finally found the dye pot and scale, that I'd left in a "handy" spot -meaning near the front, in a plastic storage bin without a lid so nothing could be put on top of it. Hubby grabbed a white fleece from the storage locker as well. It turns out that I'd put all the washed fleeces in proper bins and the only one we could see ended up being "raw" - but it's a nice fleece. So my house smells of raw wool, wet wool and freshly dyed wool once again!

The Dyer's Greenweed still had lots of hardy looking leaves, amazing since we've had a number of really cold nights (-12ish). The waxy leaves hold up well obviously, although I'd just trimmed the shrubs back a few weeks ago to do a dye day with a friend, so there was no new growth. I got 100 grams and that included the woody stems - but it would be enough for a decent sample providing the pigment was still viable. I was totally amazed by the brilliant yellow. It is gorgeous.

I even did a quick woad vat, with leaves I'd dug up from under the snow. I've gotten useable blue pigment after snows and light frosts but there wasn't any blue left :( It was good knowing though that you only have so much time to get that last dye vat in with the woad.

Then I took some of the madder that I'd used earlier this year for the red wool that I turned into a dress. I had dried and saved the roots. Half were used at the above dye day and the rest I took home with me the other day in order to try out at home. I got a gorgeous colour and if I had a place to save the roots, I think there is much more pigment in them. That makes madder a really good option for dyeing, with multiple colours available from multiple uses of the roots.

As I'm running out of handy spinning fibres, I took some of Wellington Fibres mystery rovings and started spinning them. It was a blend of colours, mainly blues, with some greys, black, greens and red. The first ball of the whole roving was a grey with a few highlights. I thought it was rather uninspiring, so I separated the rovings into main colourways and spun them individually. They are much nicer now.
I even had time to make shortbread cookies for a meeting and had a great deal of fun making a mess while drizzling chocolate over them with a fork.. very fun and easy to over do it!

I had to miss Wassail due to hubby's company Christmas party. Since I ditched out of the last couple of Christmas parties with his former company and did the same with a family wedding to go to A&S (it's all cool 'cause he arranged it so I didn't have to do the wedding thing before I even had to think about it), I figured I should go. It was lovely and casual with kids running rampant around a small, independant winery, where we met for dinner. A nice meal and the only day with great weather since I got to drive home the 2 hour trip afterwards.

1 comment:

vandy said...

My gosh! Not only do you still have harvestables, but you can find them??? My yard is deeper than knee-deep already...
v