Tag Archives: pink

Woad!

I know, I’m easily excited, and I shouldn’t shout at people who are kind enough to read this blog, but WOAD!  I hang about on a couple of natural dyeing boards on Ravelry and I think it was there I saw a link to this resource about dyeing with woad–entirely graspable (apart from the absence of a reducing agent).  And in metric, always a plus. A couple of other Australians were chatting on Ravelry about when to use your woad–and that had me thinking now was the time to do it.  So.  Here are my two plants (before).

2015-05-23 11.27.58

There has had to be some explanation about this not being a salad green, which ought to be a clue about the  variety of salad greens we grow here.

2015-05-23 11.28.06

I had a lucky find behind the woad… the last of the cherry tomatoes.

2015-05-23 11.45.29

There was more woad than I thought.  And for anyone who has been wondering, I now know where the snails live and prefer to breed. Which confirms my opinion that the trouble I have had growing woad from seed might be due to its being utterly delectable to snails and slugs and every passing nibbler.

2015-05-23 11.48.33

This is the harvest!  For anyone else who has been wondering why some of the silverbeet hasn’t been thriving, another duh!  Moment in the vegie patch.  Those are white beetroot.  I don’t remember planting them, but more than happy to eat them in any case…

2015-05-23 12.06.49

Chopped woad leaves.  Three litres of chopped woad leaves.  A lot of care was taken to ensure no snail was wounded at this stage.

2015-05-23 12.08.39

Into the boiling water.

2015-05-23 12.26.27

Straining through four layers of cloth.

2015-05-23 12.35.49

Measuring the hot liquid (about 2 3/4litres)–and a pinky-browny colour.

2015-05-23 13.19.25

The first few locks of wool went in and ten minutes later–that isn’t blue?!

2015-05-23 13.37.26

After a second quantity of wool which also came out mauve, another batch came out still silver-white.  I decided to try a smidge more ammonia, and out came some pale blue.

2015-05-23 14.22.33

I can’t say this is earth shaking colour, but it is colour, and it is a colour I don’t usually get from the garden, and it isn’t as crushing as the total incompetence and series of accidents I’ve had going with austral indigo.  It’s enough of a success to make me think I should try again.  Let it be said that having a much larger quantity of leaves has to be an asset, because while woad reputedly has a low yield of indigo, so does austral indigo and its leaves are much smaller.  The austral indigo drops a lot of laves at this time of year and… I think I will just let it be this year!

20 Comments

Filed under Dye Plants, Natural dyeing

Sheet bundles

There has been some more bundle cooking for my friend.  She handed over these massive bundles–they are bedsheets. We’d walked over to visit with a bale of straw for our friends’ hens… and walked back with the bundles and cartons of fabric.  I spent time helping a friend clear out her Mum’s sewing room recently and since then have been finding new homes for sewing machines, yarn, fabric and a wide array of other items.  Some of my fellow guildies were delighted to take possession of tapestry bobbins…

2014-08-23 17.19.02

 

Here are the parcels going into the pot, packed with dried leaves.  My friends have an E Scoparia at the end of their street, and that’s what was inside the bundle… leaves and some bark, too!

 

2014-08-23 17.33.28

 

Some time later…

2014-08-24 08.15.25

And being unbundled!

2014-08-24 16.43.03

One had remarkably little in the way of distinct leaf prints.  I am amazed that there was enough dye in those leaves to colour so much fabric.  Unrolling…

2014-08-24 16.48.16

 

Flapping about over the lawn, wet from the dye pot…

2014-08-24 16.52.15

The second one had some prints in closest to the centre of the bundle. 

2014-08-24 16.58.53

 

Glorious!  A third immense bundle has gone home with my biggest pot, for some time on a gas burner.  I love that big pot but it just doesn’t work with my electric burners.  This is going to be one fabulous set of sheets!

2014-08-24 16.58.56

13 Comments

Filed under Leaf prints, Neighbourhood pleasures

Dyes of antiquity: Carmine cochineal

2014-06-14 14.20.01

Cochineal is another of the dyes I received from the Guild and used at the workshop a while back.  In fact, there was a choice of cochineals.  In what I realise now was my ignorance, I chose ‘carmine cochineal’ because it was ground up and I was unsure how I could adequately grind the whole dried insects I also have.  As you can see, after an initial period of being dull ornage, the dye bath was an impressively shocking pink.  It turns out that ‘carmine cochineal’ is not a shade of cochineal but a preparation of cochineal boiled with ammonia or sodium carbonate.  I borrowed Frederick Gerber’s Cochineal and the Insect Dyes 1978 from, the Guild and found that the deeper red colour I had in mind when I saw the term ‘carmine’ could only be obtained from this preparation with the application of a tin mordant which I am not prepared to use.  the colours we achieved with alum were well within the range indicated by the included colour chart of wool samples (those were the days!)

2014-07-20 16.00.18

The colour range on this card (with madder beneath for comparison) is impressive even without tin. 

2014-07-21 14.33.21

We dyed organic wool. I dyed silk paj and twined string (the orange string was dyed with madder). 

2014-07-04 12.52.33

I brought the vat home with me and dyed a lot more fibre in an attempt to exhaust it.  Here is grey corriedale mordanted with alum and overdyed with carmine cochineal.

2014-07-30 11.27.48

And spun–three plied.  This is my first ever crocus flower, by the way!

2014-08-23 11.57.30

The magenta silk embroidery thread had maximum time in the bath, since I fished it out when removing the dyestuff (in its recycled stocking) prior to disposing of the bath!

2014-07-30 11.23.55

 

12 Comments

Filed under Natural dyeing, Spinning

Leaf Print of the Day

IMAG3315

This glorious tree is in full bud near my parents’ house.

IMAG3208

I have had colour from the buds before, but they are still very small at present. You can see how spectacular it will be to have flowers in such profusion when the time comes!

IMAG3210

An entire branch had fallen to the ground: too good an opportunity to pass up.  I was on my bike that day, so I filled my pannier before heading home.

IMAG3255

And so, buds and leaves of an unknown eucalypt on silk velvet, part of a special pack of some kind from Beautiful Silks. I have no idea what I could do with these small pieces of velvet, but I’m more than open to suggestions.  Treasure bag? Cushion panel?

3 Comments

Filed under Eucalypts, Leaf prints

Plum Pine 4: Washfastness

I decided the obvious way to test for washfastness was to wash.  So I embroidered with the plum pine fruit–no mordant–silk thread, and with the plum pine fruit-with alum and cream of tartar on a piece of cotton… and added a little eucalyptus dyed silk thread for good measure.  Not the best example of embroidery ever seen, but it will do the job.  The two upper examples were purple (like the thread on the cards) when they went into a normal wash–30C with eco-detergent.  One wash later, the no-alum sample is grey and the with-alum sample is green-grey.  Eucalyptus shows its true colours yet again.

IMAG1655

Yesterday I tried washing my sample cards at 40C with eco-balls (we have laundry variety here, as you will shortly understand) and they were still purple when they came out of the wash.  Interesting… this made me wonder if part of what is going on here about Ph.  Detergent would be more alkaline than eco-balls.

After 4 more washes:

IMAG1892

You might remember that I did some darning with my early silk samples.  They have not fared well either–but the mending is still doing the job!  The pink is still pink, but much faded after what I would guess as being about 8-10 washes.  The purple is blue, and paler.

IMAG1894

I knit some test samples from my yarns.  They fared better, washed with other woollens, cold with soapnuts rather than detergent (if anything, a slightly acidic wash).  The sample on the right has two shades of plum pine with alum and CoT on BWM alpaca rich, with a band of cotton used to tie the skeins in between because this yarn took so much colour during the dyeing I was curious.  The sample on the left has two shades of plum pine on patonyle (wool and nylon superwash sock yarn and a sample of handspun Wensleydale).  One has gone from purple to grey and the other from purple to blue.  Blue?  Before:

IMAG1661

After, with unwashed BWM Alpaca Rich in the background for comparison.

IMAG1893

Well then.  Not what you’d call really excellent washfastness. And some new mysteries to ponder, as usual.

3 Comments

Filed under Dye Plants, Dyefastness, Natural dyeing

Spinning

I loved running workshops over summer, but it has also been a treat to return to my spinning wheel.  This skein began as grey corriedale fleece.  I dyed it in the grease with Earth Palette dyes, carded, and pulled a roving directly from the drum carder through a diz.  I have seen this technique demonstrated on YouTube, but I was only prepared to try it after someone from my Guild (who is a fabulous spinner) showed a group of us how she does it.

I like the colour, and enjoyed the process of producing roving.  Being able to dye in the grease is one of the things that has me returning to Earth Palette dyes. It improves my pleasure in scouring, and makes me content with scouring small quantities.   Does my impatience show?

IMAG0995

One of the workshops I ran over summer was on ‘fancy yarns’–artyarns to the inhabitants of the internet–and it has been good to come back to spinning the kind of yarns I prefer to knit.  I love the challenge of artyarn spinning, and the results, but I am a plain spinner in my heart, apparently.  This is relaxing spinning for me and I’m enjoying relaxing a little.  The yellow/green/blue corriedale that I dyed at the same time has already become a beanie for a dear friend’s birthday, even though there will be no call for him to wear it for some months yet!

Dyeing over a grey base has pleased me so much that I want to return to trying it with eucalypts.  I guess I’d better get over myself about scouring…

2 Comments

Filed under Fibre preparation, Knitting, Spinning