I am on a project to create my own sock yarns this year using natural fibres. As part of the dyeing–because I like wildly coloured socks! I decide to dye some mohair and suffolk fleece. I have some dyes that were gifted to–or abandoned in–the dye room at the Guild. This time I chose Quebracho–which was not mentioned in any of my dye books but I assumed would require an alum mordant. I organised that, and found to my surprise that the preparation of quebracho I had completely dissolved. It’s a tree-based dye so I had rather imagined it was finely ground wood. Wrong. Interesting! Then, a second surprise. I thought it would be red, but actually, quebracho comes in a range of colours and I had quebracho yellow.
Which was a shame, really, as my second dye pot was dyer’s chamomile. Never mind. Yellow fibres can be readily blended and overdyed and needless to say I have some fibre dyed with eucalyptus destined to join this blend which might blend beautifully…..
The first dye bath from each came out rather splendidly and intensely yellow (quebracho on the right), and I was reminded that dyers’ chamomile always smells edible. Also, that it might be the right time of year to harvest this plant again (I took secateurs to the dead flowers of a patch growing in a city park last year). I love the smell of eucalyptus, but edible isn’t the thought that comes to mind!
I ran exhaust baths with some of Viola’s (crossbred) fleece. It had been in a cold alum mordant bucket for some months. Perfect! Ready to go at just the right moment! Another win for slow dyeing processes… and one step closer to an all natural sock yarn.