Monday, November 17, 2008

natural dyes

I thought I would share with you my first real try at natural dyeing. At my husband work there are several walnut trees. For the past few years I have collected the nuts and tried to make a dye bath. The first year I forgot to tell one of my daughters that it would not be a good idea to leave the collected nuts in a Walmart bag on the front steps. The next morning the squirrels even took the bag with them. The next year I forgot all about the dye bath that I left in a jug on the back steps. It froze. Well this year I had a plan. First of all I collected about two Walmart bags of nuts still in the hulls. When I brought them home I placed them in a wire cage that we use to carry cavies in. It is like a small rabbit cage that locks, so I was able to let the nuts dry out with out letting the squirrels get to them. Once they were dry. I placed the nuts in a pot of water and boiled them for about a hour. I then let the pot cool for about 24 hours. I had placed the nuts in a stainer so I lifted it out and then put the nuts on the front steps for the squirrels could have them. Which they did.

My next step was to prepare the roving. My plan was to start with dyed roving and then mute the colors with the walnuts. So my starting point was lime green,yellow, orange and bright pink. I used jacquard acid dyes and then wrapped the roving in plastic wrap and then cooked it in the microwave for about 10 minutes.

I was happy with the result. After I let the roving cool I then washed it to get any left over dye out of the roving. I was hoping the walnut dye would tone down the bright colors.

After the roving was dry I then placed it in the dye pot with the cold walnut dye. I then slowly turned up the heat to a steady simmer. I simmered the roving for about a hour to a hour and half. I then let this completely cool, about 24 hours. I then rinsed it and let it dry. This is just about what I had pictured in my head. The one thing I would have liked to see was more of a difference in the pink and orange and the green and yellow.