Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Experiments in Natural Dyeing

After being away from my dear spinning wheel for so long, I desperately needed a crafty day. Today was that day!

Last night, I combed and spun some of the Rambouillet that my friend Marie gave me. I have a dark fleece and a white fleece. I played with combing the two colors together, and made a stripey yarn.

No idea what the yardage is, but I'm happy with the result. I'm going to have to try it again when I'm not planning on dyeing.

My family is a part of a local CSA, which means that once a week we get a crate of fruit and veggies. It's lovely, because we get what's in season and we always have fresh produce on hand. However, sometimes, there is a downside. Like the fact that we have 2 lbs of beets, and none of us eat beets.

So what did I do? Stuck the beets in the crock pot with my wool and dyed it, of course!

I joined the Plants to Dye For group on Ravelry and read a few posts for what to do with beets. Someone had made a gorgeous red using red wine vinegar as the mordant...I only had normal vinegar, so I used that. We boiled the beets, cut them up, and put them in the crock pot with the water and vinegar.

And now we wait.

In the mean time, I decided I might as well experiment. I found these great instructions for sundyeing, and decided to give the weeds in my yard a second chance. I'm really bad at following instructions exactly, so I just plucked as many weeds as I could manage and shoved them in the mason jars with boiling water.

From left to right: Clover, gumballs (from the tree in our yard), random white flowers from a weed, dandelion roots, dandelion stems.

I imagine the clover will give a pale green/yellow color, gumballs will be brownish, the white flowers will give a pale green, dandelion roots will hopefully be pink, and the stems will probably be green. But who knows!

Updates shall follow - for the moment, I need to go put some anti-ichy stuff on the bug bites I got from picking all these weeds! The mosquitoes are fierce in our jungle of a yard!

ETA: Gathered a few flowers on a walk with my parents:

From left to right: Orange day lilies, purple petunias, and Queen Anne's lace. I had *just* poured boiling water over them when I took this picture, and was astonished at how quickly the petunia water turned blue. I hope that the yarn dyes a shade of blue...apparently blue is a difficult color to get!

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