Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A natural gold color

Or at least close enough for me. I am really pleased with how the ragwort dyed my yarn. Here is a picture of the yarn.

So if you want to duplicate this, here's how (and I bet it wouldn't exactly match, that's the fun part of natural dyes)

Take a bucket full of ragwort flower tops (see my previous post if you need a picture of the flower) Put them in a large stainless steel stock pot and bring to a boil. While that is heating wash skein of yarn to be dyed in soap and water, and rinse well. Then place in a mordant bath of alum water (this is a moderate stainless steel stockpot filled with water and two heaping tablespoons of alum and one teas of cream of tarter dissolved in it) Let yarn soak in mordant water while dyepot boils. I boiled the blossoms for about an hour. Be sure there is plenty of ventilation while you do this. The liquid will be a gold brown clear color.

Strain the dye liquid from the flowers and place in old crockpot. Put skein of yarn in the crockpot and set to low. Let simmer overnight (or as I did, while I was at work) I could see that most of the color was out of the liquid. I removed the skein, wrapped it in saran wrap, and microwaved it for 2 minutes. This will set the twist, I do not know if it will help it to be colorfast.

Then I washed the skein in hot soapy dish detergent and a smidgeon of borax.(it really smelled bad, sort of off flavored brussel sprouts type smell) I saw a little of the color rinse off. After that I rinsed the skein in hot water with a glug of vinegar in it (I am doing all this in my kitchen sink) I could see the color brighten some after doing that. There was no color run off at this point. Finally I just rinsed in clear hot water, towel dried the skein and hung it up to complete drying.

I mentioned that really loving this color meant I had to spin up more white skeins, before the flowers faded. A bright internet friend said that the blossoms can be frozen until I am ready to do more dyeing. So that's what will be done, two trash bags full of the blossoms will go into the large freezer. It will make a very fun addition to our annual fall dye day at my house.


No comments: