It’s untrue that I can only see the garage roof from the other side of my studio. If I stand on a step stool, lean very far out of the open window and look left, I can see more of this:
It’s end of week and I’m aiming at a quiet weekend. Not something I observe habitually, but it happens to fit. Continue reading
– garden views for you today. I try to get my butt outside every time the weather lets up, even just for a short spell. And every year in October I just go nuts clicking at leaves, once I start I can’t seem to stop, 100’s of images and nothing to do with them! These are just the raw snaps, I hope to dive deeper into work on them later. Too many varied projects going on right now, so next task will be getting all my ducks in a row.
Last year I had a bucket full of beautiful, golden dye, I’m not sure which plant I’d used (thinking celandine), but it was strong and sunny and the cotton pillowcases I dunked in there soon looked very cheerful as well. Then, hungering to see just how much dye they could take, I left the bucket a few more days. When I came back, it had all turned brown and there was mould starting to grow on top, it was slimy and smelly and not sunny at all.
Sometimes you don’t have to leave it out for weeks, just sayin.
So I’ve been thinking, would it be cheating to add a slosh of preservative like what I use for jam? And would it even work in a container that’s not sealed?
So I decided to use a leaf dyeing experiment to try out the concept at least. One with jam preservative, one with vinegar. And well, I’m going to throw in a pot of Celandine too, they need some purging anyway. I can just make it before it gets cold I think.
There are pros an cons of course – since the rot can probably give you both surprises as well as a variety of colour that you wouldn’t normally get. But if that’s not what you want…
With the birch leaves I got exactly the same colour on the yarn, but the bucket without preservative got smelly and mouldy, the other lasted fine for a week in my greenhouse. So, some yellow dyes are ruined, some keep their colour.
Celandine results will be updated later!
I also added preservative to the jars of silk soaking up Dyer’s chamomile dye. No mould or funny smell at all even after weeks. They were in tightly closed mason jars.
So far it looks like the vinegar does as well as the preservative. About a month before both buckets of cloths got a bit mouldy on top, that was after I’d looked several times and taken the cloths out, not putting the lid back on properly.
Birch leaves are abundant in the Scandinavian countries and were considered poor man’s dye because while it’s relatively lightfast, it does fade – and boy did poor people use and abuse their few sets of clothes in those days! But – no worries. They just re-dyed it every summer, voila, good for another season. (What I don’t understand is how they could wear them for more than a season, my hardworking clothes get worn out in a heartbeat – says something for quality of modern fabrics, doesn’t it). I’m thinking perhaps they also didn’t mordant and that’s why it faded sooner?
Anyway, I found the yellows of the birch a bit dull on my first try, lovely and blending in with nature, but in my initial plant dyeing craze I’ve been going for as much vibrancy as possible. That may change – I do see some natural fleece dying projects in my future, from sheep to sweater kinda thing. Or wall hangings actually.
Soooo, I haven’t explored it extensively yet. What I thought I’d do apart from showing my measly results from last year is write up a summary of the older recipes I’ve found in out of print books, my thoughts on future experimenting and perhaps a few links for the hungry.
This was just a small experiment since my rowan trees on the property are rather measly. And the ones along the main road are too tall for me to reach…. So I just did my usual simmer-soak-simmer-soak 2-day routine to get it out of my hair, like. I threw in a couple of berries because, well, they fell into my sack. Alum/CoT mordant on wool yarn.
I forgot to weigh the leaves…..
One of my books suggests it’s a good base under madder and indigo, another that it gives a brownish yellow. (brown in my head not being great under blue? I could of course be wrong)
The colour did turn out to be a different yellow than birch leaves (more on those in the near future), so quite ok as experiments go. Whether the berries had an influence? Well, it’s always fun to have more mysteries waiting out there.
Rønnebær og -blade
Den gule farve er i øvrigt, mod min forventning, anderledes end den gule fra birkeblade, så det var alligevel ikke et helt tosset eksperiment. Om det er de få bær som har give en lidt varmere tone er svært at vide, det må jeg teste en anden dag. Men det er da en udmærket måde at få variation.
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