Monday, October 15, 2012

shades of summer

Here are my final dye experiments for this summer
I've cheated a bit, because I placed the dye vats next to the wood burner this last couple of weeks
to keep them fermenting.
Which works fine :)

The yarn is Poll Dorset from Renaissance Dyeing

Here's another photo. The exact colours are difficult to capture, they look more like this.
from left to right - dyed with:
 Brambles (Rubus fructicosus) - Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) - St Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Madder (Rubia tinctorum) - Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) :basic vat  - Elderberries :acidic vat 


the yellow Irisses were harvested in my own garden. They grow in abundance close to the river
I would never take the wild ones as they are quite rare
and they were replanted after taking away only a part of the root

sliced roots Iris pseudacorus

The roots hold a reddish colour which apparently gives a bluish grey dye 
with promises of more blues or maybe even some purples, if I had used more roots
I'm definitely going to try it again next year !

My conclusion is that the colours you get with the fermentation method are quite different from the bright colours of the synthetic dyes, much softer, but they are what I would like to call "vibrantly alive" and frankly I prefer these soft tones to the ones we are so used to see on clothing and yarn these days.

And, once you get used to work with these natural colours, it's not easy to return to the synthetic colours again. 
Well, I won't, anyway !

I think I will make a crochet wrap or maybe a cardigan, with these six colours


Friday, October 05, 2012

shades of madder

Dyeing with madder, Rubia tinctorum, has been a magical adventure for me.

It is magical because madder offers a colour palette from 
light to dark orange, red, burgundy, pink to dark pink.
depending on a acidic or a alcali-basic dye bath
which will give different shades.
(Orenburg silk mohair)

Poll Dorset yarn, dyed with madder
left : acidic dye bath - right basic dye bath

Orenburg silk mohair, lace merino, 
even the wall was painted with madder

You can use vegetal dyes for other purposes too. 
This orange wall was painted with madder

here's the recipe 

100 grams madder powder 

100 grams fine wood ash 

20 grams soap flakes 

50 grams beeswax 

Put the madder and the wood ash with water in a pan 

Warm up till just before boiling 

Filter this liquid in a cloth mesh 

add the soap and the beeswax, mix well 

keep this mixture warm in bain-marie, 

don’t let it boil ! 

when everything is well mixed you can used this mixture 

lukewarm to paint the wall 

the next day you can polish it with a soft cloth