Friday, November 13, 2009

Solar Dyeing

Remember that white yarn I spun up a few weeks ago? I decided to try solar dying it with some of my Turk's Cap. I've been wanting to try for a while now, ever since I read about using Turk's Cap in this excellent book. And goodness knows the plant has been growing like gang-busters this year, so I had plenty to spare.

I had Craig help me with the alum mordant, since I'm still nursing and you can never be too careful with the chemically stuff. Though in all honesty, alum is probably no more dangerous than most of the stuff we have in the garage, but just in case...

After the yarn was mordanted, I cut a bunch of Turk's Cap - flowers, seedheads, leaves and stems - and simmered it in the dye pot for a good while. It smelled like any other greens you might cook up, in case you are wondering.

I have read that you can eat Turk's Cap, but it didn't look too appetizing.

After that, I poured it into my trusty kimchee jar I found next to the dumpster at our old apartment. Thank goodness for multi-cultural neighbors.

Then I put it in the yard and ignored it for a few days.

After a rinse and some drying time, I now have soft, peachy yarn.

I was only ho-hum about the color (natural dyes are never as impressive as synthetic) until I noticed that it is the same color as my little bluestem seedheads in the foreground. I have a soft-spot for little blue as it's such a fine example of a prairie plant struggling to remain unpaved.

Not sure what I'll make with it yet.

1 comment:

  1. I like the color, very subtle. I love natural dyeing. Celestial Seasonings tea has some teas that make great dyes. Do you use salt when you dye? It helps to set the dyes.