Dye Day

I played with some natural dyes this weekend.

dyed with apple leaves and twigs; L: overdyed with indigo

I dyed some wool in that dye bath made with apple leaves and twigs. Then I overdyed a small portion of that with an indigo bath that’s been sitting around. It was a really, really short dip (less than 2 minutes total), but the blue really took, and it’s a blue-green, and I was hoping for more green. But, I started out with a light brown to start with, so it’s probably not too surprising. I did this dye sample without mordants, since I read that it was not necessary, but I will try another batch with an alum mordant. Stay tuned.

wool dyed with indigoHere’s a handful of wool that I let sit in the indigo bath for about 30 minutes after an initial dip of 5 minutes (aired out for 10 minutes in between). I did this batch to make sure that the indigo bath could be revived and still usable, since it’s been sitting out on the back deck for 9 months or so. Yikes! But with a little Rit dye remover, it was good as new. And as you can see from the apple sample, still pretty dang potent! There are a few small white patches because I didn’t really let the wool soak long enough (a 5-10 minute presoak because I was so darned impatient to see what was happening with the indigo).

I have some lincoln-corriedale locks that are soaking in alum right now. I want to try the cutch again, with the fiber pre-mordanted, instead of the alum in the dye bath to see what the difference is.

It’s slow going, changing only one variable at a time. But once I get what I want, then I’ll do a full dye batch.

What am I looking for, you ask? I want a reddish brown and a light green. Anyone know of a sure fire recipe?

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