Friday, 26 May 2017

Apple Leaves

My Cox's Orange Pippin is now in full leaf, so I decided to try dyeing with the leaves, to see what colours I would obtain. Jenny Dean's 'Wild Colours' (My Bible) suggests that one can expect shades of mustard and brown, depending on the time of year when the leaves are collected.

The dye bath (steeped overnight on a very slow heat) looked rather weak, and an unpromising yellow, when I looked at a spoonful. I obtained some quite subtle shades, through. They make an interesting comparison with the stronger, though not dissimilar, shades I obtained from the apple pruning in January. The set of leaf-dyed skeins are uppermost, mordanted, (from the left) with alum, copper, alum + iron and alum + tin; the lower set are the results from pruning, mordanted (again, from the left) with alum, copper, and rather confusingly with alum + iron and then alum + tin.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Madder Still

So now I've used up all of the rest of my madder root to dye 30 toning skeins in one dye bath. My conclusion is that the method is quite tough on the wool, and also that my implements, especially my dye pan, are too small to dye large batches of wool successfully. There is insufficient room to allow the individual skeins to float freely. I'll be returning to small batch dyeing (four skeins at a time) from now on.

Friday, 19 May 2017

30 Skeins of Weld from One Dye Bath

I've spent a happy two days, dyeing skeins with Weld. Here they are, drying indoors. It is too wet to dry them in the garden.

And now they have been dried and twisted. The dabs of bright colour are the lengths of commercially-dyed wool that I use to identify each mordant and assistant, in order to keep track of the complex dyeing process.

MK 50 May Makers at Westbury Arts Centre

Imbolc and Ostara on display at Westbury Arts Centre.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Madder and Madder.

I'm still hoping for a good red, though one informant has suggested that this is really only possible with Turkish-grown Madder, which is embargoed to me because the plant source has to be locally-grown. That's life! I followed Jenny Dean's instructions carefully, pouring boiling stare on the roots and straining it off after a couple of unites (twice) to take away the orange pigment, then simmering the roots for twenty minutes and dyeing with the liquor. I've made two lovey toning groups of brighter and more muted rusty-orange, but no sight at all of red!

Artichoke Leaves

One of the artichoke plants in my garden was damaged by heavy rial, so I took the opportunity to use the damaged giant leaf for dyeing.

I obtained quite respectable shades of green when mordanted with alum and copper, alum+ tin as an assistant gave me a soft yellow, and alum assisted by iron a greenish-brown. I've been searching for a good green for some time now. Result!

Alder Buckthorn

Alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is a colourful tree native to England and Wales, most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia.

It is not related to the common Alder, nor to the Buckthorn. It is similar in appearance to alder and the two trees are often found growing together. This is what I obtained from fallen twigs and bark.