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.