I know it's been TOO long since my last dye tutorial.
I had set a goal (that I was really enjoying) of dyeing at least once a week and posting a tutorial for you. It's amazing to me how doing something out of my normal routine had flip everything on it's head.
This thing that got me out of my dyeing routine was a really good thing though.
One of my favorite things to do with my husband.
We visit his family and friends and I get to smell fresh things growing
that I can't smell here in Maine in February.
Ok so that was almost a month ago now
and between the jet lag and tending to other things
including my husband and I spending a lot of time rethinking our food habits-
we both participated in a 4 day liver cleanse to help reset our bodies.
It was very effective and I may chatter about it here and there.
With this New Year,
I set a few goals for myself
including mapping out
and scheduling my creative time.
That includes spending more time with my dye pots
and plants studies.
I don't know about you,
but I can get side tracked-
by anything so easily.
Before I know it, the day is over
and I haven't created or accomplished anything that I wanted to.
So, when I can, all my thoughts and ideas that I have
when I wake, just before bed, in the shower, on walks, mid day- when ever,
I try and write as many of them down.
Then I revisit these scratchy lists
and map out how much time I'll need and any materials I need to fetch or prepare.
I then write it all down with a pencil on a tangible calendar- my iphone is useless for this exercise because I want to see everything at once.
I can't tell you what scheduling these creative activities has done for me. It feels so good to plan and keep me pointed in the right direction.
I knew I wanted to get back to my dye tutorials
but like I can do so easily,
I get distracted by everything else around me that needs to get done.
Plus, since we returned home, I didn't have a good creative plan in place where I could just pick up.
I had to start from scratch.
And I was distracted by several household items to clear out.
I was also having trouble deciding what to dye up next.
While clearing out the mudroom, I came across these nameless red weeds
that I found in the organic apple orchard last fall.
I've looked in books and the internet and I cannot figure out what these tall rusty red weeds are
I used them anyway.
As they were steeping away in the water, slowly heating up, I noticed these beautiful seeds peeking through like tiny bright red pin pricks.
I hadn't noticed them when I picked the plant last fall.
The dye bath was a golden color.
Normally, I may have let the fiber float around with the plant because I really enjoy the color variation that occurs when plant is touching fiber as it cooks away.
But I knew with this plant it would be a disaster to get all those fine seeds out of my fine yarn.
I let the small strip of silk swim in there with the plant materials.
After a few hours of simmering, I used my fine mess strainer and removed the plants saving the bath.
I then put in my yarns and let it simmer away for about an hour.
I did add a tiny bit of alum to the dye bath and cream of tartar- after it was cooking away.
The first skein on the top is 100% wool
the large skein on the bottom is a blend of merino, angora and silk (!)
I may dip this in an indigo vat to create an earthy green
an logwood bath for an EVEN earthier green
my madder/ cochineal after bath for an earthy orange.
in your dye experiments, when you get a result that your not impressed with, dip it into something else for over lapping colors. The depth of color we are able to achieve through natural dyes is (in my opinion) something that cannot be obtained with acid dyes.
The pigments in natural dyes, to me, are still alive and this is the very reason why I LOVE using them.
I think next time, I'll collect this plant and try an eco print.
For all you natural dyers out there who also love to collect plants,
I highly recommend playing with this method.
It is fun and magical
and gives a whole new definition to natural dyeing.
Last night I unfolded 6 prints I put together while on my last trip to SF.
I was tickled with the results but I was hoping for more.
Later today I'll be adding to them and will share pics later :)
Stay tuned for next week when I post a natural rainbow dye tutorial
for St. Patrick's Day.
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p.s. if you know the name of this weed, please share in the comments:)