Saturday, 8 November 2014

Latest Solar Dyeing.

These are my most recents efforts at solar dyeing, golden rod at the top and woad leaves below.
The golden rod is so dramatic a lovely, if slightly acidic, yellow.  To achieve this colour I layered flower heads with the merino fibre adding alum and cream of tartar to the liquid in the jar.
The salmon colour was achieved using woad leaves from a plant that I discovered in my garden. Some years ago, before she moved from Bedfordshire, Jenny Dean gave me some dye plants from her garden, some survived, others didn't or so I thought. Earlier this year a friend gave me a new woad plant. Then, while weeding this summer I discovered leaves that looked similar to those of my new plant. The plant had obviously self set but there was nothing in the orriginal pot.
When I looked in Jenny's book I realised that I could use these leaves and possibly get one of four colours, pale salmon, 'pinkish cream', blue grey or olive green. I decided to use only the leaves, no mordant or modifiers. I tore the leaves into pieces and layered them with merino tops. The small fibre sample at the top I removed after just two weeks, the rest was left in the jar for a further 2 weeks, mainly because I was going to a show and wanted people to see what could happen. I have to say that the colour is better/deeper than expected. There are small patches of the blue grey that can be achieved using an iron modifier. I'm not sure what caused this difference but it may well have been where the leaf stem was touching the fibre.
I will be saving some fibre samples and spinning a small skein from each but the remainder of each I will save to blend with other solar dyed samples to produce a larger, usable quantity of yarn.
Now I must decide what I shall put in my solar dye jars over the winter.