…and nothing to do with it. That’s what I’ve been thinking every time I pass by my second year weld, lush, tall and proud. Because as I mentioned in the fennel post A. I don’t have a new dye yarn supply, B. I don’t really want to keep dyeing samples with cheap yarn, C. I don’t have any projects planned that require a large quantity of yellow yarn, and D. I just haven’t felt like it anyway. Which is a shame, because it is one of the plants I want to keep using in the more limited range that I’ve set out to use in the future (rather than try all the things).
Well, they look good, I have time, it’s just early summer, is what I also thought. Then I noticed last week they were going a bit bleak around the edges. OMG I have to do something!
So I wound a bit of scruffy silk and mordanted while cooking up a sample of weld. Not impressed with the colour of the dye bath, so perhaps they can in fact get a bit old if you don’t harvest and renew. It’s been quite dry here, so that may have influenced them as well. Wikipedia says: “For the greatest production of coloring matter, the plant should be cut before the fruits show much development, otherwise the pigment diminishes.” Another lesson learned!
For this batch I did one in an iron pot with a horse shoe thrown in for good measure, and one in the clean dye bath. Turned out alright, but although I didn’t weigh anything (very unlike me), I’m sure the dye ratio was way higher than normal. After a heated dyebath I threw in another hank and left outside to “solar” dye a week or so.
This silk yarn is “raw silk”, not smooth and shiny, a single ply made from rather short fibers – possibly leftovers? At any rate it pulls apart quite easily, it can be knit and woven just fine but will not do for a warp. I’m contemplating whether I’d like to ply 2 strands of the different shades of green and yellow to make it a bit stronger.
Next I’ll cook up some more, possibly combining multiple batches, and soak some of those failed fabric dyeing experiments from yesteryear. Then at least I can say I’ve done something with it! I’ll let some go to seed and hope they take care of their own multiplication.