|Home dyed brown skein from gathered plant materials|
It delves into how to use locally available plant materials to make natural dyes using alternative mordants to create a yarn/cloth that is environmentally friendly, agreeable on the skin, ethical and sustainable.
There is a comprehensive plant list that details what species are recommended for obtaining different colours, applying colour directly onto cloth with flowers and leaves, plant material dye baths using scrap metals and dye vessels as mordants plus an enticing section on eucalypts, which I have not even begun to read yet!
What I was most excited to try first though was a plant based dye from materials found on our property. I had a quantity of homespun fleece to play with so off I went a'gathering...
|Oak bark (twigs and acorn caps)|
|Homespun wool soaking in a vinegar/water solution overnight|
|Designated slow cooker for dying yarn|
On the day I had set aside to dye my yarn, the boiled bark/water solution was strained and placed into the slow cooker.
|The colour of the oak bark dye before heating - like strong tea (or maybe even whiskey? Maybe? ;))|
|Vinegar soaked yarn entering the dye|
|The colour take-up after 2.5 hours|
|..and here, the colour after 5 hours.|
After the yarn had cooled in the dye, it was removed and left to partially dry in an old colander. Not being able to wait any longer, I rinsed it in lukewarm water, gradually increasing the water temperature to 'set' the twist in the yarn.
The water ran clear! The dye had taken!
|Hanging up to dry. Oh, the wait!|
|At last! My first plant dyed skein of yarn. What fun I will have playing with this. (100g approx)|
NB. As the dye solution still seemed to have plenty of colour left, another similar weighted skein was added (with a short pre-soak of 1 hour), and again 5 hours on the heat. It produced a nearly identical coloured yarn that is just the slightest, slightest shade lighter. The leftover dye liquid (still amazingly with colour in it), was placed into jars and labelled, ready for me to play with again another day.