Not Yellow

Naturally dyeing fiber is always interesting and often unpredictable. When anyone asks us what color we get from a certain plant the usual response is ‘yellow’ … or ‘probably yellow’ if it is a plant we have never tried. This can be manipulated somewhat by the use of different mordants or afterdips, but still usually yellow or tan color based hues are the results achieved from local plants.

So it is always a great surprise when we make a dyebath from…..for instance…. blossums like these:

and these:

(14 oz. total fresh blossoms)

And add 2oz of alum and cream of tartar mordanted wool, and a tablespoon of baking soda in the last 15 min or so to change the pH….

And get a lovely bright shade of …not yellow… but….green…:

So of course we have to add another 2oz of wool to the dyebath and get a still beautiful but pale yellow:
They do look very pretty together:

Now to see if the green can be duplicated with another dyebath.  May be  most likely be yet another surprise.

This Week in the Fiber Room

Dyeing Prudence’s locks

Washing fleeces – this one is Blackberry’s ram lamb

Carding and pulling Blackberry’s lovely wool

Carding… sampling… note taking

More sampling… more note taking

Spinning some of Boy George’s Heather Lavender batts

For those of you commenting on all the bright colors in one of the previous ‘In the Fiber Room’ posts, we thought you might be interested in this series by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed fame.  He is giving us a peek behind the scenes in the creation of his fabulous new yarn Shelter.  He begins with some wonderful pictures and explanations of color blending at a mill scale.  It is a great story, and we love, love, love what he is doing for the wool industry.


Spring is not complete without the great taste of rhubarb: pie, jello, crisp, jam . . .  doesn’t matter as long as it is rhubarb.   Recently, a very gracious neighbor shared her bountiful supply with us. Having recently seen somewhere that the leaves are good for dyeing wool, we requested the poisonous leafy tops be left on so we could shred them up and try our hand at dyeing. We ended up with 6 pounds of leaves. After soaking them overnight we put them on the stove. The boiling leaves smelled very good, and turned into a spinach-like mush. 100_7368 We tried 4 ounces of wool in one of the pots, (had to boil them in 3 different pots we had so many) simultaneously mordanting with alum and cream of tarter. Brought to 200 degrees for 45 minutes producing a kind of semi-pretty gold/yellow/green color not represented very well in the following picture: 100_7369 Then for the last 15 minutes we added tin mordant which turned it a pretty bright yellow which is actually somewhere in the middle of the hues that the camera picked up in these two pictures. 100_7373 Closest to this brighter color. 100_7374 Which is really one of the prettiest yellows we have gotten from our natural dyes. We may just have to try this same process again.