Oof. It’s been a while since I’ve updated. Time to dive right back in, eh?
As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent some time with my parents in Kansas after my granddaddy’s funeral for about a month. While I was there, I dedicated some time to helping my parents sell a few things around the house to prepare them for a move that might happen sometime in the nearish future.
Now I’m back home in SF, which means that I back to my dye pots.
To start off, here are some photos that I promised a while ago of my oxalis and hibiscus dye experiments. Some of the yarn that I dyed was my own handspun (Cormo/Merino wool), and the rest is some handspun (Falkland wool) that I found in the free bin at SCRAP. I prepared all of the yarn with alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) as the mordant to set the dye color.
First, the oxalis. I had two pots simmering when I was dyeing with it. One batch (first photo) was oxalis that I picked while helping weed up at my friend’s farm in Occidental, and the other (second photo) was from a gallon of oxalis dye gifted to me by friend and teacher, Jonatha.
Both batches produced a variety of shades. I dipped about half of the hanks in a bath of baking soda after taking them out of the pot to tune down the florescence of the yellow. It actually turned a few of the hanks a lovely gold.
I LOVE the gradient of yellows that I ended up with.
That same day I also dyed a batch of handspun with some dried hibiscus flowers that I picked up at one our local grocery markets.
And the result was a sort of pale, antique maroon. I think I was in a little bit of a hurry at the time, so the yarn wasn’t in the dye pot for very long. It was probably about an hour or so. I am actually quite taken with the shade. The nice thing is if I decide later that I want a darker shade I can always dye it again.
Today, I’ve got a few pots steaming on the stove. In one pot I am mordanting a batch of yarn picked up at a thrift store and two cotton items to prep them for dyeing tomorrow.
In the other two pots, I have some bundles that I originally put together during a dye/eco printing workshop that I took this past Sunday at A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, taught by owner, Kristine Vejar. (I will post more on the class later this week.)
The four bundles are two silk scarves, a piece of linen fabric, and a piece of wool fabric that Kristine provided pre-mordanted. She said that she used aluminum acetate to mordant the linen and potassium aluminum sulfate for the silk and wool.
I shibori wrapped the silk scarves and linen with button/craft thread onto tree branches with fresh flowers inside, including coreopsis and marigolds, and onion skins.
For the wool fabric, I shibori wrapped it with eucalyptus leaves.
All of the bundles were in the dye pot for about 1-2 hours during the class, but I took them all home to keep the process going.
After heating the silk scarves and linen for an additional two hours at home, I unwrapped and rinsed them thoroughly. Today, I added a few more flowers and petals from a bouquet that Danny gave me last week on our wedding anniversary (yay!), and I have just turned off the heat. I can’t wait to see the results!
As for the wool, it’s been on the stove for the past few days. I’ve been turning it on to let it simmer for a few hours at a time whenever I’m home. This afternoon I unwrapped it and peeked to see how things were coming along, but there was only the tiniest amount of brown/orange transferred from the eucalyptus leaves. So, determined, I wrapped it all up into a bundle again without disturbing the leaves, and this time I used a copper pipe instead of a tree branch. It’s been steaming for a the past couple of hours. So, we’ll see if it has helped at all.
Pictures of today’s labors will be posted soon!