Tag Archives: Natural Dyeing

Week 1 – Midweek update

I dyed!  I couldn’t help it.  Even though there was ice in the little water that pooled on the canvas cover over the hay bunk – somehow, my indigo didn’t freeze.  It wasn’t supposed to get that cold!  I was NOT happy when I saw the ice. 

So I picked one last batch of indigo and did 2 skeins.

The end!

The end!

The one on the left is the remaining skein I dyed with dahlias last year and didn’t get to over-dye because of frost.  It is finally green!  I hung in a window a short piece of yarn that was dyed with dahlias and overdyed with indigo to see how it handled the sun.  I noticed no fading over the several weeks it hung there!  So the indigo has stabilized the dahlia – which fades easily.   Nice to know!

Both are sport wt, 100% alpaca.  They are still partially wet in the picture.  The color will even out and be a bit lighter when completely dry.  Though not on the production schedule, they will be a pretty addition for the upcoming shows.

I did get 8 pair of wristwarmers knit yesterday – took me until 9PM!  But I have not started finishing any of them!  It’s gonna be crunch-time! 

I now have a baby hat with me where ever I go – especially while sitting at my computer.  I can get quite a bit done while waiting for screens to display – that is the ONLY good thing about my slowing dying computer.

Indigo Girl

Have I mentioned I love having a ‘chore boy’ on weekends?  When Darryl does the chores, I can do some cool projects.  Like today.

This is my row of indigo in the garden.

Before

Before

And when I had stuffed my strainer full of leaves, I had this:

After

After

Yeah – barely made a dent!  I cut most of 3 or 4 plants.  That is all.  I have indigo to share.   And, if there is not a frost soon, those that I trimmed will be grown back.  I tried a new method of dyeing.  Instead of creating a double boiler with a glass jar in a dye pot, I put the indigo leaves in a strainer / steamer and put it directly into the pot of water.   I ended up with 6 quarts of indigo leaf juice in a big dye pot.  Much better for getting an even color across a skein since the pot is much bigger than a gallon jar.  I put in 2 skeins – each 4 oz.  And got this:

Indigo dyed yarn

Indigo dyed yarn

Wow, huh?  This is the darkest blue I’ve  gotten.  On the left is 80% alpaca / 20% silk.  On the right is a little over 4 oz of yarn from Pelasia

Then I found this yarn I dyed last fall with dahlias.  I didn’t get to over-dye it last fall because we got a frost and my indigo froze.  It did fade some over the last year – dahlias are not a good dye source.   When I soaked a skein in water before I dunked it in the indigo pot, more of the yellow color bled out.  It was odd to dye this as the yarn looks a yellow / chartreuse color while in the pot.  It is only when the air hits the yarn, that the blue appears.   So this yellow yarn really didn’t change color much in the pot.  But then I took it out and…..
After - and before

After - and before

On the left is the green that appeared.  I was pretty surprised to see that!  On the right is the other skein I dyed last fall.   But I don’t know what the future will be for this green yarn.   I don’t know if the indigo will have fixed the dahlia color – or if the yellow will continue to fade – causing the green yarn to turn blue.   When I took a dyeing class last winter, I asked the instructor that question and she didn’t know.  Guess time will tell!

Golden with goldenrod

While it was still chilly outside this morning, I went on a goldenrod hunt.  I took a short walk near our yard and found over 2 pounds of goldenrod blossoms.  

In the bag

In the bag

 It did help to do the collecting before the heat of the day, but I still got a bunch of bugs and spiders in my bag of goldenrods.  So I took my pot of water on the deck, dumped all the goldenrods and bugs into  the pot,

Overflowing pot

Overflowing pot

smashed them into the pot,

All in the pot

All in the pot

 put on the lid, put the pot on the stove, and didn’t look in the pot until it water was boiling!  I cooked the blossoms for about an hour.  

Cooked goldenrods

Cooked goldenrods

 I poured off the dye.  The cooked blossoms go to the compost pile.  The dye went back to the stove and I put 2 skeins of yarn in it.  I let the yarn simmer for nearly an hour, then cool down for a few more hours.  After a rinse and wash, I hung the yarn to dry. 

Dyed with goldenrods

Dyed with goldenrods

On the left is 4 oz of 80% alpaca / 20% silk lace weight.   The right is 4 oz of 100% alpaca sport weight.

While at Pie Day last month, I had a guy ask about an ear flap hat in blaze orange.  It got me thinking.  While the goldenrod dye pot was cooking, I put my last packets of Tangerine Kool-Aid into a pot of water and dyed enough yarn to make a hat.  Check this yarn out! 

Seriously orange!

Seriously orange!

The regular Orange Kool-Aid is no where near this orange.  The Tangerine is a Spanish flavor and it is hard to find.  I found it by accident at a dollar store awhile back and haven’t seen it since!  

And we discovered a snapping turtle nest was hatching today.  We gathered around 20 for a friend who has a pond.  And 17 more crawled out.

Baby snappers

Baby snappers

Those 17 I delivered to the back waters of the river where their mother went back to after she laid the eggs in June!   They are so darn cute when they are first hatched.