Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Summers color for the end of winter

Beautiful Dyer's Coreopsis that I have had in the freezer since last summer.  What a glorious pot of dye it is!

First photo has a higher Ph level than the Yellow that is in the right hand photo.  You really can get many different colors with just a Ph level change.  I didn't have any after baths to play with (iron) but I bet there are more colors hiding in there somewhere.

It really is this vibrant!

This is Madder on grey wool and a bit of white wool (left side).   I have so many shades of this on the grey wool - but forgot photos - Ill put them up tomorrow when I have natural light.  All are mordant with Alum and CoT. 

Madder with a color change using different Ph levels

Some indigo and Black Walnut yarn I spun up the other day.  Love the combination of brown & blue.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ECO Printing

ECO Printing with Fall Leaves
I have caught the next wave of natural dyeing.  Eco printing with leaves by steaming them onto paper.  I then sew them into handmade books.  I love paper, I always have.  I have rolls and pads and sheets of it all tucked away all over my house.  I am slowly printing with all of it so joy of joys I will have to replace my stock when the next sale hits.  This is super easy to do - collect leaves.  I collect 4 kinds - Beech, SweetGum, Oak and Maples.  I do however collect from different trees and from different times of the Fall season.  Some of them have been pressed and dried and some are picked straight off the tree at the time of stemming.  I rarely keep records as I have no intention of repeating what I get and live in the joy of spontaneity.  

 Here is a bundle of papers after its been steamed and the strings are cut off ready to be opened.

 I also did run out into the dark to gather a few Ferns before the last hard frost killed them off and I was really happy with the results.  Its a beautiful pattern of resist and nice yellow too.

This paper won't be stable as I threw some iron powder on it before steaming - its gives a really cool coppery color but Im sure the paper will rust straight thru to the next page so I will just look at it or hang it on the wall as is.

SweetGum Tree - one of my favorite trees.  When it changes color in the Fall it does so with so many beautiful colors.  Green, yellow, orange, red, burgundy to brown.  Its just spectacular.  All the colors from this one work really well for eco printing.

This one is a bit of a cheat - red onion skins :)

 When you layer the papers with the leaves (meaning- no blank papers with no leaves in between) you get a mixed bag of prints all over the place, a print from both sides of the leaves.  This makes it really hard if you get something spectacular on both sides of the paper.  But then again that is great for book bookbinding.
 I received the most beautiful colors this time around.  This was done with dry paper but the leaves were soaked in iron water before I layered them out - only a few minutes - then steamed for 4 hours.  I can never wait so I always undo the bundle before it dries.  Happy Printing.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Greens and all the Rainbow Glory

Natural Rainbow Glory

Left to right strips: Goldenrod/Indigo(4), Indigo(4), Indigo/Cochineal(3), Logwood(1), Cochineal(2), Bloodroot(2), BlackWalnut(3),OsageOrange(1), Marigold(1), Goldenrod(2)
I always have extra yarns around when I simmer up this many colors and dye bits and pieces.  I have finally knit up a little swatch to show them off.  

Greens are everywhere in nature especially in summer but it is really hard to achieve in natural dyeing without over dyeing (combining two colors).  Indigo and goldenrod have to be my favorite color combinations - they greens I are given are spectacular and I like to leave the finished color all around the house so I can just look at it as I pass by.    

I was dyeing two different yarns - Bartlett and Brown Sheep - both produce wonderful greens but spectacularly different even pulled from the same pot at the same time.

Here are the finished custom naturally dyed yarns for Green Meadow Waldorf School.  You too could have spectacular color just drop me an email by stoping by my Etsy shop, I dye yarns, loose wool and some natural cloth.
Brown Sheep Worsted: OnionSkins, Marigold, BlackWalnut, Logwood, Blackwalnut/Logwood, Cochineal/Indigo, Bloodroot, Cochineal 2ndRow: Goldenrod, Mint (Iron), Indigo/goldenrod, Indigo, Indigo/Cochineal

Bartlette Yarns:  OnionSkins, Goldenrod, Goldenrod/Indigo, Indigo, 2nd row:Bloodroot, BlackWalnut, Cochineal/Indigo, Cochineal

Used the Indigo pot to dye some cloths for the obligatory Family Beach shot - I think its going to be great this year.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Adventures in natural dyeing

Once again I am dyeing the wool yarn for Green Meadow Waldorf School  This always gets me excited because I collect a lot of dye stuff for pots and couldn't possible use it all myself.  Willow tree tips, onions skins, marigolds, bloodroot, goldenrod, coreopsis, mint, black walnuts, lichen and mushrooms galore.  The list is endless and I always have a pot on the stove cooking or "waiting" in the corner.   For these yarns I always use alum and cream of tartar for the mordant and at most I might use a bit of washing soda to change the Ph of the water.  This year I used the stream to rinse most of the yarns to cut back on using the electricity for the pump - its amazing how much water just flows by the house - I need to use that more often.

 Yarn drying after the mordant process so I could store it before I used it.  There was a lot of yarn this year - almost double and I'm not done yet - just a few more over-dyeing to go.  

 I really love my yard

 I found many great oranges this year.  As always its so much fun to lay out the rainbow of colors and photograph them.  I will get them all out soon let you see.

 Onion Skins, tansy, goldenrod, osage orange all used one at a time but in the same pot so by the end it was all mixed up.

Madder and cochineal

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bloodroot Plant Dye

I have been dyeing a long time now and I am still finding new to-me dyes that are exciting.  Bloodroot is the new one for me this Spring.  Its an old Native American dye and has been used for centuries.  
What took me so long?  Its orange - bright beautiful orange.

The rhizomes are ugly and quite frankly they look like bugs lying on the counter.  The leafs are up right now and have a white flower that is just about to die out if they haven't already.  You can find them on a shady road sides & in the shadows of the woods (please be responsible if you dig them up). They are easy to dig as the rhizomes are shallow. 

I diced the fresh rhizomes up and warmed up the pot to just below boil. 
 I also have a few drying and I am also putting this jar in the sun to see if a slow cool seep changes the color.

 The upper left corner is after dipped in washing soda and I didn't see a strong color change in the wool.  The silk however you can see a change in the top part (washing soda) a more yellow orange, the bottom is just out of the pot.  I plan to do a light test next to see the color fastness but I have high hopes given the history.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Plant Dyeing Workshop

I have finally taught a 'proper' workshop on plant dyeing.  I have had many dyeing sessions with friend, and at work, but this one was the first attempt at an organized event.  Thank you Craftstitute for creating space here in Ithaca where artists can come and have a space to teach a class.   I think it went off very well and I hope my - newly addicted to color friends - agree.

We started off by putting plastic labels on the skeins, then pre-soaking the fibers in water.  I had already mordanted the skeins prior to class in Alum & Cream of Tartar.  After adding the dye stuff which was - Sage brush ( I collected some branches when I went out west a few years ago), dried Marigold flower heads, Red Onion skins, Madder and then a lichen I had soaking in an ammonia bath for a month - after about 45 minutes of hot soaking we then strained the bath thru mesh and cheesecloth.

The marigold turned out to be a really strong yellow and everybody loved it.

The red onion skin didn't turn out a greenish as it had in the past.  Its a wonder to get get color from nature and its always a surprise.

The madder had been soaking in my kitchen for days and the red (on the orange side) that we got was very impressive.

Stunning results - thank you nature.