Tag Archives: acacia

Dyes from the freezer

It was a lovely weekend afternoon–my beloved in the shed with a friend, woodworking, and myself and another friend figuring out a few dyestuffs that had been saved in the freezer. I started out by cleaning up.  I regret to say this is a pattern!  Mohair locks had been steeping in a cold alum bath and it was into the cochineal exhaust with them!

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The remains of two bunches of lilies that had been at my friend’s Mother’s funeral had made it into our freezer for this occasion.  We consulted the dye manuals and found no really obvious approach to take for lilies.  We started conservatively and tried pouring over hot water and steeping.  Nothing magical.

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We put the second bunch into a saucepan and heated it.  Meanwhile, pansies from the parklands, deadheaded when I was support crew for a half marathon back in April or May, finally got their day in the dyepot.

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I tried India Flint’s iceflower method and the dye bath was quite extraordinary.

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Overnight, it deepened further still.

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Following a post on India’s blog, I tried the same method with the leftover Japanese Indigo from last summer, but no blue resulted this time.  These plants felt tired and sad when I harvested them for the next crop to go in, and perhaps they just were!

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After drying, here we have pansy on the left and JI on the right

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Even overnight steeping and being kept warm didn’t produce anything of great moment from those lilies, so I settled on Stuff, Steep and Store-ing them (India Flint’s preservation dyeing method).  I have a jar of daylily blooms that has dyed the silk embroidery thread that is also in it–so I have some confidence in daylilies, but these may be a different kind of lily, and the ratio of dyestuff to silk is different too.

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While I was preserving, I was curious as to what the pansies might produce after that luscious green, so popped them in a jar, and created two others with seed pods from a wattle (Acacia Baileyana) and a small native tree I haven’t been able to summon up a name for as yet.  Now, we watch and wait.

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