Thursday, March 27, 2014

Birthday Daffodils; a plant dye tutorial

I love daffodils.
To me they mean the start of spring,
a new year,
my birthday,
and now my wedding (almost a year ago now!!)
(photo credit: Serendipity Photography)

Last week I grabbed 4 bunches at the store so they would be ready 
later in the week for dyeing.
Lately my brain has been exploding more than usual with the endless plant dyes that are all around me. 

Back in.... well many moons ago, 
I tried dyeing with my birthday daffodils. 
for the first time.
I cooked up the stem and all
ending up with kind of a 
silvery color
and I was SO excited because it was the first time I tried such an experiment. 

I've been pouring over India Flint's book that has a section on 
flower ice dyes. 
Curious, I took a look and got very excited about using violas this summer! 
I'm planning on having flower boxes with violas and other things so it's really fun to be thinking of using them after they start to pass, for dyes.

I was encouraged with India's book to tuck the blossoms away in a zip lock bag in the freezer 
until I'm ready to use them.
Works perfectly for my life. 
There they sat next to the top of my wedding cake 
that I've been nibbling for a year:)

Before I put the flowers in the freezer, 
I weighed each blossom
out of curiosity-
2grams each.

I saved these 16 grams for this silk bundle. 
I them spritzed it with vinegar
and added two rusty nails.

I started to roll it up

but then got an idea...
I noticed the fennel ferns I'd been saving 
to just this very thing 
or something similar
so I added those 
before rolling it all up.

I spritzed it with more vinegar 
before finding a place to smoosh it 
for a while
to encourage the dye 
to work its way into the fabric. 

I've since found a better place.
The cast iron kettle behind our wood stove. 
It works beautifully really flattening them out. 
The one on the left is this bundle here. Look how dark just after two days!
The other two are bundles I'm reworking with California bay leaf and eucalyptus.

I can't wait to un wrap all these!! 

Back to the daffodil dyeing... 
in this here pot are 60 grams of daffodils. 
I pre soaked the yarns and two pieces of silk. 
One piece of silk and one skein of
wool were both premordanted 
with alum. 

The other piece of silk and other skein were not mordanted. 

 I let the pot heat up very slowly because I was concerned
about the temperature getting too high and 
affecting the color. 

Because I had tried this before and ended up 
with such a non-exciting color
(at the time it was exciting because it was something)

Here's my final result after letting the fiber sit in the pot
cooling over night.  
The top two small skeins are:
on the left- no mordant
on the right- alum

The larger skein is from the 2nd bath.
I'm so so happy with how YELLOW this came out! 
I'm so pleased.  

There was still dye left over
but this time I removed the soggy blossoms 
that were still in tack
and made a bundle.

I also added these Zinfandel shamrocks that I just discovered.  

bundle made with vintage cotton calico 
then spritzed with vinegar.

I still had lots left over so I put together a second one
this time on silk fabric
and a few browning 
basil leaves
(btw- if your growing a basil plant indoors-always harvest the tops. It helps it grow better- opposed to the larger leaves on the bottom. 

More on the bundling in another post:)

ok- so remember I had a 3rd dye bath
I added this light blue skein on 
a mohair blend
that I picked up in a tiny whole in the wall
knitting shop in Waterford, Ireland. 

Here are a few of the items that I dyed over the last few days. 
Including this lovely minty green skein 
which is the light blue skein 
over dyed with the 3rd bath of daffodils:) 

Last fall we planted many daffodil bulbs in the yard. 
And several weeks ago, I got the ones I 
couldn't get in the ground-
into pots around the house. 

They are now started to poke up through 
and I look forward to putting them in the ground.


Until then, I'm enjoying what I find at the market 
and taking full advantage. 

Check out my etsy shop 
I'm running a little sale
now through the weekend. 

Today I turned 36 (!!@#(&#^@*@!!) 
It's ok really, 
I'm off to spend the day at my favorite fiber shop
get my hair done
& then
I'll have dinner out
with my sweetheart

It's gonna be a great day. 


Anonymous said...

I'm obsessed with this idea now! I love the darker yellow (MY yellow!) that came from the alum mordant. So beautiful. And I'd like to buy your daffodil watercolor painting....

Pallas said...

Happy Birthday, Rachel! Can't wait to see your bundles when you open them...they really look good. How long are you letting them sit? Love your pretty yellows with the daffodils, and your painting is gorgeous!

Rachel said...

Thanks ladies! I'm headed out now to open the bundles. It's such a nice day here I'm taking advantage of the sun and going out to one of the beaches here with bundles. I just thought it would be more fun to open them outside and I may give them a quick rinse in the sea water and let them air dry outside. typically I wouldn't rinse them but I think a quick dip to loosen the slimy goop will be ok. Also, I'm curious to see if the saltwater will do anything.

Kasey, you should try this with all your daffodils coming up soon! Pallas, I let them sit for at least a week. If it turns out too pale I'll use that same cloth again to layer more color. Yesterday i set up two bundles with scraps from my juicer!

Lynn said...

I wish I had known it was your birthday :-(

Hope you had a great day, you looked radiant so that explains it!