Monday, November 11, 2013

More experiments

This has turned into a big adventure.  The best dyeing results from my backyard were the nice browns that happened when I tossed apple and maple leaves into the pot, along with the bundles. 
Above is the astonishing marigold bush that grew out of a very small pot from the nursery. The flowers make a warm yellow in a bundle, but I've only tried very small amounts. That's my wondrous first ever lemon tree in the background.

So far my method is to make the seems to work best to use moist wool, sprayed with a weak vinegar solution...boil, or simmer it for about an hour, hang it up to drip dry, then let it dry in the oven, where, due to the pilot light, it's quite warm, overnight.  Then pop out of bed and open it before breakfast.

Here are a couple drying and looking prehistoric:

This is today's bundle which is partly clamped with old pennies and round plastic shapes to see if that will yield something interesting:
This cloth was previously dyed (by me), but I'm hoping to deepen the color. It's a fine Italian wool challis or crepe. I've been rolling the cloth around PVC pipes, but this one I tried using two lengths of pipe and an overcloth.  We'll see what happens! I just took it out of the pot, so results won't be available for a couple of days.

Now, some results.  These are 4 light wool scarves (ordered from Christine Mauersburger's Hank and Spool), dyed with an assortment of leaves...the browns are from my backyard leaf fall; the wonderful orange imprint comes from local eucalyptus leaves.  (The persimmon is from the tree in the front of the house.  I haven't yet figured out how to persuade much color to come out of its leaves.) 

I have been reading and re-reading India's book Eco Colour for guidance about all this, and especially about Eucalyptus, of which there is a LOT around here.  Not all of them are beloved by the local inhabitants, but by the freeway grows this tree, a Eucalyptus Pulverulenta (I think), from which I harvested windfall, yielding the results above:

And here is Miss Gilly, watching the crows circle around the persimmon tree.  The fruit on top is quite ripe and the birds are feasting regularly.  Also the raccoons.  But so far no one has bothered the ones I set out on the window sill to ripen.  What a harvest this year!