i’ve got piles

Some “new” colours because of the different water (which is a good thing), but i want some of my “old” colours back as well! But i CAN live with this, if i can have both 🙂

(Click on the photo–as all of mine are–for tactility close-up.) SCRUMMY.

warming the vortex

-40C wind chill today, risk of frostbite in 10 minutes. I ain’t goin’ nowhere this week!

The last week’s results, correctly in dye journal 🙂

I think my soda ash tests needed a fresh mix as well–i adore that orange from the test above, not as apparent in the sample on the bottom of the page below!

Below, the two on the left are linen, quite disappointing! The linen i ordered before Christmas is crappy quality, stiff and feels cheap. I know linen is supposedly harder to dye because of the plant waxes and pectins, but the results were abysmal! I followed all my usual protocols so not sure what the difference was. *Usually* i find rhubarb, whether root or leaves, somewhat inhibits the uptake  of dyes……… For that reason, i never use the leaves anymore. I think it’s the oxalic acid, but also would suspect the roots have more than the leaves, so it’s a mystery!

A mystery because look at the quebracho rojo on the same linen! I was thrilled to see that once rinsed and dry, it was a definite pink, quite the surprise as usually qr is touted to give only pinky tans and browns on cellulose, and paler in range than protein fibres.

I have a different batch of linen from the same supplier that is supposedly the same thing, but the difference is amazing–full handed, thicker, FEELS like linen, so we’ll see what the results are on it.

And the rest of the qr tests:

It’s  bit hard to photo these correctly: the velvets on the 2 top left are pinker than here, not as orange. (And OH do i love that lavender from the third extraction with an iron post mod!

I’m also testing Ugandan marigolds! My son brought me some when he came back last week (and YES it was all legal, above board and phyto-sanitarily correct, according to customs regulations! I wouldn’t dream of having anyone smuggle or mail un-regulated product to me!)

making it smell like Summer

I can’t pretend Spring is coming with the coming weekend supposed to be in the minus20’s(C), but i can smell Summer right now: I had a pot of rhubarb root simmering, an excellent dye the last time i used some. The fragrance lingers, even to the next day, and always reminds me of alder burning in the old wood stove on Bowen Island. This is a test of sorts too, as the first time was freshly dug and cut up, and this particular bag has been in my cache since October of 2015, so very dry. Some dyes just don’t do well dried! Checking the pot after an hour assured me though: there was LOTS of colour seeping out.

Silly me though! I forgot to weigh the bag and have no idea how much i used. I decided to start a separate note book for my silk work, as it’s a different kettle of canned worms than other fabrics, and the colours are amazing! And guess who didn’t take notes last year when she was doing all this? I mean, i know if i used quebracho rojo, or madder, or osage obviously, but what post mords or post mods did i use? What mixes of dyes did i use to get other colours? How many times did i use that bath? I didn’t even keep swatches!

Rhubarb root has more of an affinity for protein fibres though: all the trials i’ve done on cotton or linen gave at best, a pleasant warm toned pale yellow, and even post modifying doesn’t change much of that. (Except for iron which which pretty much *always” turn any natural dye to shades of charcoal!)

Here’s my array of tests, in order of post-modifier: copper, iron, soda ash and vinegar. (Unfortunately, i threw out the ammonia for some reason, so couldn’t try that…) Again, little change on the linen.

For some reason, there also seems to be little difference in the colour when overdyed with indigo, but my vat may be too strong still. This is the one time i wish for a weaker one! (In *my* experience, a weaker vat gives a better chance for the first colour to influence the outcome.)

So, did i lose you with that highly detailed ireallydon’tgiveashitphotoijustlikecoloursandb? 🙂 (I myself quite like the orangey soda ash results, and the iron.) This is how we roll, us natural dyers!!!! BUT, once we know the general outcome of all those steps, we can play confidently and happily, mixing, mixing more, and mixing again. It’s not just a matter of throwing an avocado in a pot with some pretty muslin 🙂 And more tests will now be done, in overdyeing with *other* dyes: quebracho rojo, cutch, madder, cochineal, etc etc etc.

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Speaking of misconceptions about dyes……..this article was brought to the attention of several natural dye groups yesterday. Quite an uproar ensued, because while yes we should be more aware of our purchases and the effects mass consumerism has on the world, we should also not have to, as natural dyers, be misrepresented by an uninformed “trend forecaster” belittling us with comments about natural dyes being “Subdued and melancholic…….”, even if she *is* trying to be “on trend”. Except for aforementioned avocados maybe, HA.

The ennui that rises from this article is a palpable stench. I would guess that’s the subdued and melancholic way of saying “i just don’t give a damn”. But then she of course redeems herself with pithiness because “She is given to issuing prophecies such as: “I think we will get very inspired by blouses.” *My* blouses are pretty vivid and lively 🤣(This is as bad an article as one i read by Germaine Greer, who hadn’t a CLUE about textiles, and textile art. I wrote about that on my old blog, here, and here. If you’re going to set yourself as an expert, do some research, for jeebly sakes.)

taking the roots with us

I’m digging up every potential dye plant i can, as we know already that our 100+ year old house will be torn down to squeeze in at least 2 McMansions.   Isn’t this gorgeous? Look at the rings! Rhubarb root to cut and dry for winter dye pots.

I still have a HUGE piece to dig up from the back corner, but fortunately Strong Son is here to help us, and can lend some considerable muscle to get it out of not quite frozen yet ground. There’s also two kinds of solidago, a pathetic dyer’s chamomile, and some hops. The hops though, i think i will just harvest and use dried. Not sure the new back15 will take a lot more!

uprooting

Change is afoot. Big change, big afoot.

2.26 k of fresh rhubarb root, ready to be chopped and dried for winter dyeing. I still have probably 8k to dig but am hoping my big strong son can help with that next week before we have more than a dusting of S $#@ . Rhubarb root gives gorgeous metallic yellows to greeny golds through to corals and pinks depending on fibre type and mordants and modifiers use.

Roots coming up, roots going down.

a natural moon

I’ve been slowly (and not so diligently, as other pursuits in the studio have “interfered”) working on this indigo moon, using my newly dyed naturally dyed threads. This is a lesson in itself, as the indigo i’m working on is strong enough to overshadow certain colours, necessitating some more neutral backgrounds for future plans/use.

 

The moon is worked with cotton, silk, silk/wool blend and wool threads in cochineal, osage, logwood, and privet berries, with the brown of the seeds coming from potassium permanganate (actually an inorganic compound). I found a walnut bath i had stored several years ago, when i was setting up in the basement, and shall test to see if it’s still “live”, for some of my browns in future, though i do love all the permutations the PP gave on the skein of cotton. On the background surround, in cotton, silk, wool and silk/wool, the colours i used are privet berry, cochineal, brazilwood, rhubarb root, hollyhock (and that’s where the “oh-oh” happened, as some of the colours are so soft, they are barely discernible), osage, logwood, and sandalwood. Using pre-mordanting (VERY important), and post modifying methods, changes the colours to a wide range. (Ha, just realized i used none of the wonderful madder results!)

I have two other moons still in the finishing stages, and hope to get them done soon too! All will be in the shop.