Crafts are my passion, Cats are my obsession

My crafting adventures, my cats, my dogs, my opinons - I never did keep a diary as a child, but I'm doing it now!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Projects done.

Well, I needed to do a kitchen set for a basket. A fundraiser type raffle basket. My contribution was towels with toppers, dishcloths, and (bought) matching potholders.

So, besides those pictures, I also finally got around to taking pictures of my dye experiments.

I really am hooked on this dyeing of yarn thing - don't know if I'll go into major production - so far, just playing and colouring enough for a pair of socks is fun enough :) Because I'm not into production type stuff, I have no inclination to get into the complexities of chemical dyes. Besides the cost of buying them, the need for separate equipment, and the dangers of working with chemicals, I doubt I'll ever bother with them. So, my dyeing is "limited" to foodstuffs (koolaid, foodcolouring) and natural stuffs. I've shared pics of my food colourign and kool aid dyeing before - as well as putting them in my photo album, which there is a link to on the side.

This summer, though, I got into some natural dye experiments. I had picked up a cast iron "dutch oven" at a thrift store, thinking I might use it one day. It sat in my cupboard for almost a year, so when I decided to try the natural dye, I decided to dedicate this iron pot to dyeing. Took it out to our cabin, and began collecting leaves. We were on holiday for those weeks in September - remember the fish net? :) And the pictures of the "mystery bush"? Well....

Ok, so what I did, was I gathered some oak leaves, both from some trees (they were about to lose them for the fall anyway) as well as some from the ground that the bear had torn off, along with some twigs, branches, etc. I chopped it all up, put it into the pot, covered it with water, then we put it on the fire to boil and simmer for an hour or two. (nothing scientific here - just playing) Then, I drained it through a colander, into a plastic bowl (which I regretfully dedicated to dye) then put the end of a skein of yarn into it. I only had one skein of white wool with me, and I thought I might do more later. DH was so impressed, (and I think I wrote about this before) that he wanted me to try some of the red leaves that were on the bushes around our place. We've tried before to figure out what the bushes are, so far, no luck. Anyway, I went around gathering leaves, again putting them into the pot, cover with water, and boiled away. Then I drained, and dipped the other end of the yarn.

This is what I got:

Brown from oak, and that lovely green from the red leaves:

Then, I decided to make some dye from poplar trees. I did, but this time, I let it cool and bottled it. Which is also what I did with the leftover oak and mystery bush dye. I had to make a trip home to check on the cats, and do some laundry, and so on, during the holiday. So I also picked up more yarn :)

I did cold dips - that is, I put the dyestuff liquid back into the bowl, then just put part of the yarn in, then let it sit for a few hours. I got a "washed out" sort of look:

Here is the "hot" oak and mys. bush, beside the "cold":

They are more intense in the hot....

Now, what I did for the poplar parts - on the left picture above, you can see there is two spots on the yarn that are the same colour? Well, I had put the poplar liquid into jars. One jar, I dipped part of the yarn, the second jar, I added some vinegar to the jar, then dipped the yarn. I can sort of see a slight difference, but it all depends on the lighting. If I am outside on a sunny day, I can really see a difference. The vinegar made the green a little more yellowish. Both are yellowish green, but the vinegar brings out the yellowish. I don't think you can really tell from the pictures, though.

So, these two yarns are wound into balls, ready to be converted into socks.... that DH and I are going to fight over, lol. We both love the colours that resulted..... I guess I'll give him the more intense coloured pair, and I'll go with the lighter ones.... :( There is always next year, and I still do have some liquid in jars, that I can hea up lol.... What I also have, but haven't dipped yet, is some birch bark. I read in one book (library copies, I made a few notes) was that birch bark should give various shades of peachy pinks, depending on mordant. Well, I have my doubts - I think I'm going to get a green again..... But, I want to heat the liquid before I dip.... Will let you know when I'm done :)


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