I’m cooking now!

I started to shred the eucalyptus leaves with my rose pruning shears.  After a few handfuls, I was starting to get worried.  It’s tedious work, and my mind will likely wander.  But, man, those shears can be dangerous, so close to my fingers.  I keep watching them get closer and closer to my fingers and anticipating blood.

It was then that I remembered an old desktop paper shredder that I retired (bought a new model that shredded CDs and credit cards).  And YES! It works! The downside is that it has an itty-bitty motor, and I have to stop every so often to let the motor cool down.  Two afternoons later, I have 2 buckets of shredded leaves. This little shredder is now going into my ever growing fiber tools pile.

It’s a good thing that there is construction on the house across the street.  With all that banging going on (they are still framing), no one can really notice the whine of the shredder.

The end result?

  • Silver Leaf Eucalyptus: 1.13kg
  • Berries: 350g
  • Green Leaf Eucalyptus: 710g

In retrospect, I’m not sure about the 1.13kg reading on the silver eucalyptus. The scale was going completely wacky when I was weighing the green leaves, and the readings ranged from 10g to 1.7kg, before I was able to fully clear it and get a consistent reading.  It had to do with swapping out an empty bucket and replacing it with a bucket of leaves.  I may just assume 750g of the silver eucalyptus to play it safe.

So, what’s the next step? According to Wild Color, by Jenny Dean, I need to simmer it for at least an hour and let it sit overnight before adding fiber.  No mordant is necessary to get an orange-red.  You can shift the color somewhat by either pre-mordanting it with alum (more orange), or modify it with iron afterwards (brown), or both (red-brown).  I plan on no mordants.

Wild Color also mentions that the color will be richer if I leave the dye stuff in the bath with the fiber, but I don’t think I want to deal with that right now.  I don’t want to pick leaf and berry bits out of the fiber when I’m done.  The other interesting thing is that Jenny recommends 1:1 weight of dye material to weight of fiber (wof), or a higher ratio for stronger colors.  According to my dye notebook, Ildiko normally recommends a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio.

Next decision would be what to dye.  I stopped at Thai Silk this afternoon to pick up a few pieces of silk to toss in the dye bath.  Silk always dyes up so differently than wool, that I thought it would be good to see how different it will be.  I have some plain white yarn, as well as some mohair roving.  I’d like to have some of the same stuff in each bath so I can have comparisons.

Lots of decisions before tomorrow!