Thursday, September 22, 2011

Solar Natural Dyeing - Part II

red sandlewood, alkanet root, cochineal, cochineal, osage orange and dodder.
Igor had a project on the loom in colors similar to these.  He thought about making a shawl in the same colors and same pattern, so I thought it might be a fun thing to see if I could replicate the colors in his scarves.  My colors are more subdued and I didn't manage to get purple, but I liked the way they all go together.  The yarn is baby alpaca and silk from Henry's Attic.

After a false start with the red sandlewood powder, I found that the dye needed to be extracted with alcohol before I used it in the dye pot.  The alkanet root was the same procedure.  Cochineal bugs were ground and boiled to extract their dye (very potent stuff).  Osage orange wood had been run through my chipper and sat in a water filled plastic bucket for weeks and weeks in the sun until the liquid was almost black.  The dodder was a whim.  I had heard that it could be used in natural dyeing, but had never tried it.  I found some growing on local bindweed plants and collected a bunch.  I extracted the dye in the same solar method as I had with the osage orange.  Looked like plenty of color before I dyed with it, but it was pretty weak.  I think you would need to collect a lot to get more color and I suspect that other species that are oranger in color might work better as well.

Fustic, Osage Orange, Wolf Lichen
Here are some skeins of  dyed handspun.  The fustic was from an extract, but dyed solar.  The osage orange is on stretch Merino, sun dyed and the last wolf lichen skein was dyed after I boiled the lichen for several hours.  I really like the fustic skein color right now, but wouldn't it make a wonderful green with an indigo overdye?

Everything here was mordanted with alum, except the wolf lichen skein.  Many lichens are substantive (plant material acts as a mordant).

1 comment:

  1. Nice natural colors that will be fun for you to work with. I bet the whole process was a great learning experience.