Dye Day

Welcome to my dye studio — my yard with a portable propane cook top (it used to be Martin’s beer brewing cook top).  I have some cheap non-reactive pots (enamel and stainless steel) that are dedicated for dyeing.

Eucalyptus berries – 285g of assorted wool, 2 silk scarves, 1 silk hankie.  The color was a bit weak, so I added 1/2 cup of ammonia.  The water immediately had a yellow cast, but the wool took on a bit more red.  I added another 1/2 c about 30 minutes later to see if I can up the red values a bit (no). Surprisingly, the color produced by the berries are closer to the color produced by the green eucalyptus, than the silver one that the berries came off of.

Silver leaf eucalyptus – 285g of assorted wool, 2 silk scarves, 1 silk hankie.  Although my questionable scale said that I had over 1kg of leaves, this pot exhausted most quickly, leaving a very pale taupe on the fiber.  I added ammonia (see berries) to give it more of a rose tint.

Green leaf eucalyptus – same fiber as silver leaves.  This pot produced a very rich brown.  I opted not to modify it, and leave it as it.

I decided to pull the silks out and see what I’ve got…

Silk Scarves, front to back: green eucalyptus, no ammonia; silver eucalyptus, ammonia modified; eucalyptus berries, ammonia modified.

Silk Hankies, front to back: green eucalyptus, no ammonia; silver eucalyptus, ammonia modified; eucalyptus berries, ammonia modified.

There is another set of silk sheer scarves, but the colors are not as apparent on the drying rack.  I’ll take another picture after they are dried.

And I leave you with this last picture.  While brown isn’t exactly my color, it’s hard to argue with this result, isn’t it?

I’m going to let the wool cool down a bit in the pot before I rinse them.  I need to put my dye studio away before the rain starts!

Would I do this again?  Yes.  Although it didn’t provide the red-orange I was hoping for, I still like the results.  I may try and pre-mordant with alum the next time.  It should give it a brighter color.  An iron bath should deepen the brown, but I’m not interested in working with iron at this time.

Which eucalyptus material did I like the best?  The green elliptical leaves.  Although that was the most difficult to shred.  The next would be the berries from the round silver leafed eucalyptus.

Scarves anyone?  I might submit them in the next silent auction at the club.  After a show and tell at the guild, of course!

One thought on “Dye Day”

  1. Very interesting experiment.

    I noticed that Target had a good variety of large enamel stockpots sold as “Tamale Steamers”. They were $10-25 and 6 qts to humongous in size.

    Brown in not my color either.

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