wool

Walnut dyeing results; stitched feather

The Black Walnut dyebath gave some wonderful color. The wool came out very rich; the silk is a soft tawny brown. Interesting facts re: this dye (from Michelle Wiplinger's Natural Dye Instruction Book):

  • The dye is high in tannic acid, and is a substantive dye, so it does not need a mordant. Mordants can be used as color changers.
  • The rich browns develop with oxygen (indigo also required oxidation). So she recommends simmering the hulls for a couple of hours with an overnight cool-down before adding the fiber. I simmered the hulls about an hour with an overnight cool-down.
walnutWEB.jpg

In between extracting the color and dyeing the cloth I stitched a magic feather for Jude's inspiring Magic Feather Project. Background: a scrap of muslin - my natural pigment palette. I use scraps of muslin to offload the brush and test colors. When the scraps become lively with marks, scribbles and color I throw them in the scrap pile. I chose black and yellow for the feather because bumble bees and Goldfinches are now feeding on my fall flowers and seed heads! I also tried a kantha stitch with a rippled effect that I have often admired on the Spiritcloth blog.

magic feather

magic feather

More natural dye learning

I took a wonderful one-day workshop at Minnetonka Center for the Arts with Karen Rognsvoog, who has been dyeing with plants and teaching others how to collect, grow, and dye with plants locally for over 3 decades. Check her website for upcoming classes if you are in the Minnesota or Wisconsin area. We each dyed 8 oz of natural wool yarn and 2 silk scarves, using a selection of plants grown and/or gathered locally by Karen as well as a few extracts and dyestuffs purchased from other sources. Here are my results, followed by a list of plants we used. Karen really has her teaching process down - with 3 hot plates going and many buckets of soaking plants. I was really impressed with how much we could dye in one 7 hour day!

naturally dyed wool and silk

naturally dyed wool and silk

Plants used, starting with the palest yellow include:

  • bracken fern
  • sunflower
  • sunflower with a bit of tin added to the dye bath for a second dip (to brighten the color)
  • osage orange (not a local plant, but with wood shavings from a piece of wood on sale from a hobby woodworking shop)
  • madder root (pale peach) * madder root along with iron added to sadden/darken the color
  • white yarrow (the pale green) with copper added to modify the color
  • buckthorn - brighter green (an invasive here - good use for it!)
  • buckthorn with copper (the avocado shade)
  • indigo
  • logwood purple (from extract powder)

The silk scarves were dyed first in sunflower, manipulated with shibori techniques, and then over dyed in logwood purple (left scarf) and indigo (right scarf).

I may just knit a pair of multicolored socks in time for next winter...

I'm interested in applying this new plant dye knowledge along with katazome materials and techniques in creating more layered works.

Starting tomorrow I will be attending the International Surface Design Association Conference - Confluence, which Minneapolis is hosting for the first time! I've never attended before so am really looking forward to taking it all in!