Sunday, 16 October 2011

In Which There Is Dye. And Pizza.

Saturday proved to be a rather unpredictable day weatherwise - sun, rain, cloud, wind, and many combinations thereof. However, if you are having a dyepot party in a friend's garage, with potluck pizza and pumpkin pie, the weather is less of a concern.
We boiled up a pot of black walnut hulls, some cochineal, a cochineal-madder blend, and a slow cooker of pokeberries. The black walnut hulls, even boiled, are a potent squirrel lure, it seems. At one point, Deb P went out to check on wool in the walnut bath, and we heard exclamations coming from the garage. I worried that the pot had boiled over or something, but turns out that the excitement was due to a squirrel having snuck into the garage who was busy searching (and scattering) our discarded hulls to see if we had left a nut in there. Seems Deb T's squirrel T-shirt was a better choice for the day than expected.

The pokeberries produce a deep reddish-magenta dyebath, but the colors on fiber can vary between peach and magenta. Wool in poke last year produced a melon in standard dyebath and deep magenta in a cold ferment in a pumpkin. This time the slow cooker, with alum and CoT mordant produced a bright red orange on wool the first go, and a peach in the exhaust. Silk and cotton picked up more of a pink - once it was rinsed, the cotton was pale pink, and the silk more of an old rose. Although the color proved a little fugitive on some fibers, it seems to be sticking quite well on my drying rack.

For some reason, the cochineal came out purple. Quite an astounding shade, actually. And mixed with madder, the shift was more towards burgundy.

The cotton, happily, did better in the cochineal and walnut baths than in the poke.

This is some of the results straight out of the dyebath, before rinsing. The bright red/orange lower right is the poke on wool I mentioned (Deb T's sample, not mine. Happily, I have more poke in the freezer, so I am aiming to get some red for myself.)

After rinsing at home, my results are, left to right: Walnut on wool, silk and cotton. Cochineal purple on cotton and wool. Cochineal and madder on wool. Poke on cotton, silk, and wool.

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