I'm totally an alchemist. For starters I'm turning a diet of way too many chocolate cookies and blueberry muffins into (apparently) nutritious milk. Baby seems happy and growing anyway. It's like magic.
Contrary to my previous forays into natural/plant dyeing I decided to actually follow some directions. Loosely. I used the book: The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes by Sasha Duerr which I found very approachable and fun. Specific steps I took that I believe increased success:
- Switched to animal-based fiber (previously I'd only tried cotton but this is 100% wool yarn)
- Actually mordanting fiber (using alum and cream of tartar per Duerr's instructions)
- Actually leaving the yarn in the dye for a while (a few days in the sun)
- After mordanting with iron
The iron after mordant (made using vinegar and some nails) was BY FAR the most fascinating thing. Seriously amazing. Yellow yarn dyed with blackberry leaves or carrot tops was dipped in a jar of "iron liquor" and it turned vibrant green in minutes. The yarn turned purple by blackberries shifted to an amazing blue. I was seriously amazed. Mr. H, the chemistry teacher, was more like, "yeah, chemistry works. Go figure."
But you guys, it was COOL. Check out this range of color.
Farthest back you see blackberry purple but the blue in front of it is with iron. In the foreground is carrot top yellow then, with iron, green!
My grand plan is to (eventually) knit this into a medium sized striped blanket much like Oscar's blanket but with more muted colors. Obviously. I figure it's a lifetime endeavor considering how slow I knit. In the meantime I have an awesome looking yarn stash.
By the way, the orange yarn is from yellow onion skins and the slightly brownish yellow is from coffee. Next up I want to strip the bark off the cherry tree branch I use to hold up the laundry line. Cherry bark is supposed to make a nice reddish color. I'll let you know.