Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dye results from Lupine

I pre-mordanted a pound of wool for an hour, and then put it right into the dye bath to simmer for one hour. At the last minute I decided to see what putting a quarter pound in an iron pot would do and since I had already used alum, I’m not sure what my results tell me, other than that iron grays and saddens the color. I hope the picture shows the difference.

The iron is on the left, the alum is on the right and a rabbit brush skein is in front to show that lupine doesn’t even do yellow very well. It looks so pretty in bloom that I couldn’t resist trying it. Anne Bliss in her Native American Dye Plants said that I would get a light yellow-green. It was the green that caught my attention and I ignored the light part. Dipped in urine would be a more realistic description.

A friend told me before I ever began my natural dye endeavor, that the results are predictable. Everything is yellow. And so far, that’s what I’m discovering. It’s a lot of work and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all this yellow wool. I can put the yarn into indigo and get green, but then I’d just have a lot of green yarn. I don’t think this wool is going to get as far as yarn. It’s too dirty and felted and I’ve pretty much lost interest. I have more yellow in process anyway.

I dyed with cottonwood this morning and I used a different fleece. It doesn’t appear to be felted and seems much cleaner. I’m not sure how sane it is to dye in 90 degree, 70% humidity weather, but I wasn’t sure the cottonwood soup would be good in another week. I had simmered it on the propane burner for an hour and then let it steep for two weeks. I think I’ll let the wool stay in the dye bath for a couple of days and see what it looks like. At least I only did eight ounces instead of a pound this time.


Beryl Moody said...

I guess that yellow would be the predominant color you get when dyeing with natural dyes, but with each shade of yellow, you will get another shade of green with an indigo overbath. Then, you could take some of those yellows and overdye them with a weak bath of cochineal or madder or black walnut. I know yellow seems pretty mundane -- but look at it as a jumping off place.

Purple Fuzzy Mittens said...

For a person that always tells me that you prefer subtle muted hues, you have been expressing a lot of interest in brighter colors lately. Could it be that hanging out with color-hungry folks like me is having an effect on you?;-)