Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dyeing Experiments

May, 2007
My first dyeing experiment was with Eucalyptus wood. The wood was obtained from a tree in our yard which had fallen during a wind storm over the winter. The wood had aged a bit, perhaps four months, on the ground. It was in chunks of about one inch or so. I steeped it in Everclear for several weeks. I then heated it in the microwave with two small skeins, one mordanted with aluminum alum and the other unmordanted. I heated and cooled it a minute or two at a time, approximately 5 times. I allowed it to cool, removed and rinsed the yarn. It left a lovely reddish tan color on both skeins. I cannot tell any difference at present between the mordanted and unmordanted.

June, 2007
My second experiment was with an unidentified plant from our front yard. Dorothy said it was “Gray” something. The leaves and stem are a gray color with irregular shaped leaves, and the flower is a small bright yellow with multiple leaves. I used the flowers only, collected at full bloom, and steeped for several weeks in everclear. I again used the heat and cool method in the microwave, with a skein each of mordanted and unmordanted wool. The color left is a soft sage, actually very pretty. Again, I can’t see any difference between the mordanted and unmordanted.

July 2007
My third experiment was with copper. I made several mistakes with this experiment. The first was using a copper scrubber that was “copperized” rather than one of real copper. I steeped it in water for several weeks, then heated it with the skeins. No color change whatever.

I then got some real copper scrubbers. I placed one in water, in a small crock pot, and added the yarn, unfortunately, dry. Duh. I simmered overnight. It made a color change to a green/blue color, but was very blotchy and uneven. I blame it on the dry yarn and lack of stirring. Just for fun, I stirred the pot well, wet the skeins, and threw them back in. The color change was much better, but the areas that had dyed previously turned sort of a greenish black. A far less pleasing color. I hope to try again with better techniques to see if I can get a more even color.

I currently have two pots of avocado peel fermenting; one in water, one in alcohol. I’m still looking for non sudsing ammonia to do another pot. I also added more alcohol to the first pot of eucalyptus wood and have left that steeping as well. And today, I just decided to try the copper again... the right way. Pics for all these experiments soon, I hope. (I guess I need to pay my photographer more. Right, honey?) Pics added.

Can anyone tell me what this plant is?

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