Thursday, 19 May 2011

it's that time of the year again!

that time, where plants grow everywhere that can be used for dyeing! during summer of last year I picked quite a few flowers of birds' foot trefoil (lotus corniculatus) for dyeing. the result on wool was a lovely yellow; when I went down to the bog last saturday I picked a small bag full. originally we walked down to check on the orchid flowers, but only leaves and buds were visible, we went down too early. depending on the weather we'll walk down again in 10 days or a fortnight. I dyed the usual way, but this time all I got was a beigey yellow, not as nice as the one from last year. I decided to try my luck with a bit of iron on a skein of sockwool, but before I added this I put in some potash, because very often a yellow intensifies with added potash. the difference was visible, but only just. I wound part of the skein around my dowel, so that only part of it touched the dye bath. which worked very well - until I started stirring and the dowel slipped in:)) this is the result:
the lower skein is the pure yellow, the upper one the dropped one! I only added part of the skein into the potash bath, and this part turned dark green. the rest - turned beige/grey! weird how some chemicals influence colours.... it's not sensational in the hank, but it might still look nice when knitted into socks. I find that the look of yarns in skeins can be very deceptive. some gorgeous skeins may look awful when knitted - and vice versa!
when I saw the dye result of purple sage here, I thought I might give my red-leaved elder bushes a try. I used a potful of leaves and dyed on alum mordanted yarns. on the left is sockwool, in the middle silk and on the right the pale yellow dyed with lotus...the darker green on that skein was from the first dye bath, the ligher green from the second. it's not quite as bright green as the result with purple sage - but it seems that a lot of red leaved species give shades of green in dyeing. the good thing about the elder is that it grows very well here and produces a lot of leaves quickly...
I am also spinning a lot these days. I need to use up some of the smaller amounts of dyed fibres I have flying all over the house! so I grabbed some yellows and greens, some superwash fibres that I solar dyed last summer, some hankies I dyed with saffron and bits and pieces of commercially dyed purples - to dye a "herb garden" yarn. I left about half of the fibres to use for another hank - but this time I'll add clear beads as "morning dew".

I also collected some fibres for my fairy tale spinning - but first I have to prepare for the meeting of the Connacht Textile Crafters on saturday! it's the weekend of the Feile na Tuaithe in the museum of country life, where our group demonstrates all kinds of textile crafts. usually I'd have chosen spinning (we can't do natural dyeing on a date like that, because we don't really have the facilities inside and outside the park is full of other stalls).  but this year the weekend has been organized by different people, who apparently find it amusing to let demonstrators walk very long ways to and fro. before I give myself a sore back from carrying my lendrum around for miles, I decided not to spin - I'll do bobbin lace instead. unfortunately the weather forecast isn't so great either and the lace board in its bag is easier to carry over one shoulder to leave one hand for an umbrella! the organizers shouldn't be surprised though if our group decided not to take part again in the Feile - I know that parking is always an issue, but it worked ok last time and I don't see a reason to change it to extremely annoying this year! new brooms, eh....?
anyway, I have to wind some more bobbins for my takeaway project - I am going to use some of the leftover clover silk in black from the bobbin lace fan - for a piece of lace that I'd like to attach to a silk top of mine, which I sometimes wear in v-necks that open too low. it'll only use 22 pairs and the pattern isn't too complicated, so that I can still talk to visitors without causing mayhem on the board....
see you after the weekend! 


Delighted Hands said...

Excellent results on the natural dyeing! I like the greens the best! Hope the festival goes well-be sure and take pics to share!

Katja Lutze said...

Morgen Bettina,
ic mag die Grüntöne, besonders der rechte Strang ist interessant. An der Werkstatt meines Mannes hängt der Efeu auch noch mit Beeren des Efeus voll. Ich werde nun doch welche pflücken am Wochenende. Schönes Wochenende, viele Grüsse, Katja

Leigh said...

What a treat your yarns are to look at! One of these days we'll not have any more "getting established" projects going on, and I'm going to start a series on homestead dyeing! I'm really looking forward to that.

Woolly Bits said...

thanks - Cindy, the day was ok. but only once we made it inside our room and we pitied the stall holders and visitors, because it rained practically all day:(( as soon as you closed your umbrella, the next shower came through.... I hope they are luckier tomorrow!

Katja - die efeutoene sind ja eher gedaempft, aber ich finde sie trotzdem sehr schoen - zumal, wenn man die beeren leicht pfluecken kann! viel spass dabei!

Leigh - you should come over for a quick visit at the end of july:)we are going to do a session of natural dyeing at our next meeting! I have been dyeing for years now, but I still love that moment, when you have tried a new dye stuff and take out the results! I hope I can "infect" a few new dye victims at the meeting:)) with your outdoor kitchen you can always have a pot going during summer!

Nina said...

I love your dyeing experiments. What a great range of colours. I especially like the Red-Leaved Elder. Those greens are gorgeous!
I agree that a bobbin lace pillow would be much easier to carry. I've almost felt the itch to pull out my bobbins and pillow and start a new lace project. I just need a bit of inspiration :)

Woolly Bits said...

Nina - taking the lace with me instead of the wheel was the right decision - because of the wet weather! why don't you check this link:
click on gratis patroon on the left and you'll get a choice of pdf files to download, with pix. not english, but I think the pattern usually speak for themselves:))