Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Shopping for Colour

Shopping for Colour


Saturday May 30th


Blaen Wern Bodfari Denbigh LL164BT 01745 710507

An opportunity for fibreholics to buy for their fibre stash, for projects, for spinning, for felting and for the embellisher

Merino tops (both 23 micron and 18.5)

18.5 Merino/angora/silk mixtures

Silk fibres (Whole Silk bricks, silk caps, throwsters waste , silk laps)

Texture packs

Felting packs

Natural dyes

Fabric lengths for the Nuno felter

Locally made pottery and slate buttons

Dye Plants

Natural Dye INKS




A demo and special introductory offer

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Young Golden Rod- a surprise

Posted by Helen

Goldenrod in March 2009
Golden rod in flower August 2008
When we were first planting the dye garden I told Enys I wanted Golden Rod. Much against her inclination as a gardener as golden rod spreads fast and can be difficult to control Enys planted golden rod saying "you want golden rod you will have goldenrod- a whole garden of it". Goldenrod as a dye is a fabulous bright light fast yellow and at the very first dye workshop I ever ran someone gave us huge amount of goldenrod which we over dyed in Indigo when it gave a glorious emerald green. So obviously I wanted goldenrod and if I don't have a garden of it the original two plants have spread very considerably and so last week I actually cleared goldenrod which was threatening to choke a dwarf willow and which was looking a bit beleaguered. Enys on a waste not want not principle said to me sternly "are you going to try dyeing with that?" So of course I did as I was told and tried the immature plants for dye. Normally Goldenrod is one of those plants that you dye with when in full flower. The flower heads on their own give the clearest yellow I think but the whole plant gives a golden yellow with perhaps the slightest of green over tones.

Yellow from mature Golden Rod September 2007

I had cleared perhaps a dozen plants about a foot high so I chopped them up very roughly covered with water and heated very slowly and gently for about 12hours. The water was a deep brown to my surprise so I drained off the dye bath and repeated the extraction.
Into the resulting dye bath I put my ubiquitous Teeswater fleece and a 100 g of 18.5micon merino tops which has been in a very weak indigo vat and was dyed a very pale blue with lots of white areas. Both had been mordanted in 8 % alum 7% Cream of tartar.
The Teeswater took the colour first turning a soft pinky purple while the merino looked a rather unpromising grey. After 6 hours or so the merino began to look a greyish purple. Gingerly I added a drop of ammonia to see whether it would brighten the colours and the whole bath went a deep green. This change is rather reminiscent of the colour from elderberries which change from purple to green (and back again) with a pH change.
The resulting colour has proved very difficult to photograph looking blue or grey or even purple against different background.

To my eye it looks a dark turquoise, my husband ( red green deficient in his vision) says to him it looks green. Looking at the merino across the garden it look a dark grey with a green tinge. The odd thing is in all the photos I have taken I cannot get one that looks green. Whatever the colour is it is somewhat a surprise to get it from a plant

Teeswater looking purple against my red gold broom All the photos are of the same merino and Teeswater curls
which later will give bright yellow. I had expected pale or non existent yellow
The chemicals in the plant must change significantly as the plant matures.But why?

Monday, 4 May 2009

second year woad blues

Posted by Helen
I am often asked if second year woad gives blue and although I have done it in the past I thought it would be nice to have evidence!
A few days ago I cut about four second year plants of Isatis Tinctoria down to stop them flowering as I don't want them to cross pollinate with Chinese woad Isatis Indigotica which is in full flower.
As always I followed Jill Goodwin recipe from the Dyers Manual( Published by Batsford) so I ripped the leaves up and poured boiling water over them sufficient to cover the leaves , left them for about half and hour and then squeezed the leaves out and removed them leaving a brown liquid darker than the normal sherry colour I have got from first year leaves. I added about a 100ml of washing soda solution, {sodium carbonate) made by mixing 4 tablespoons of washing soda to 1 litre of water, which turned the liquid a sort of browny/green colour, beat thoroughly to oxygenate the water and precipitate the indigotin. Normally the froth turns blue but it did not show much sign of the blue froth this time suggesting that indogitin levels might be low. I added 1 teaspoon of thiourea dioxide and left for a further 20 minutes. The little vat was difficult to read as it was bright green and when I dyed fibres they went green, this was a yellow colour in the dye bath which washed off easily revealing the blue underneath. I added in the fibres shown and got as you can see pale blue on silk, on a textured yarn and quite a reasonable blue on the teeswater. I put the squeezed out leaves into a slow cooker and left overnight on the keep warm facility before adding teeswater curls and getting the resulting golden tan with a pinkish tinge.
So there you are you can get blue from second year woad leaves before they flower but the amount of blue you can get may be low.
Welcome to the new followers Manya , Danielle and Joybilee farm