Rubia tinctorum & Rubia cordifolia, Garance de teinturiers et garance ?, indische Krapp u.echte Färberröte , rubia ? y rubia rota, dhá mhadar
Now I really need help with the other languages! Anyone?
I decided to try both “regular” madder and also R. cordifolia (as the latter’s cheaper). I purchased some powdered samples of both varieties and tried them on commercial yarn, mordanted with 10% alum and also with some calcium carbonate added to turn the dyebath alkaline. I couldn’t be sure of this, as the pH paper didn’t change colour, but I added more than the 6g per 100g dyestuff to make sure.
The R. tinctorum is on the left and the cordifolia on the right. From bottom to top it goes thusly: 50% wof, 100% wof, exhaust bath. The cordifolia at full strength gave what I’d call “Indian red” after seeing this tone on so many throws and other items from the sub-continent; the colours in real life are a bit deeper. The top ball was thrown into two exhaust baths, as the dusky pink wasn’t so much to my liking.
With the tinctorum, the full strength gave me what I’d expected, or near enough.
All skeins needed a fair number of rinses to get the particles out of them (it went on the garden); their individual shade was probably twice as dark when coming out of the dyebath, due to the particles sticking to the fibre, but the rinse water was only coloured by the waste particles and no waste/unattached dye.
So, will I use madder again? Not unless I buy a larger quantity from overseas to make it economically viable. When hanging the skeins to dry, the following came to mind: “Avocado skins… avocado pits… Eucalyptus sideroxylon… Eucalyptus cineria…” However, a worthwhile experiment with usable results.
maïs coloré et basilic rouge, gemalter Mais und roter Basilikum, maiz pintado y albahaca roja, arbhar Indiach is basal dearg
Firstly, if anyone can correct any of the names above, I’d be more than interested.
Back to the dyes… I decided to try some purple basil (the annual variety) and also some red basil (a perennial variety), so picked a large handful – maybe two- of the flowering spikes.
The top row in the photo shows the results. The mordant (2, 4, 6 from left) clearly brought out deeper shades, whilst the alkaline modifier in addition to the mordant (4) gave me a bright green. The acid modifier (5 & 6) took away all the green and left me with beige.
I’d grown some painted corn this year, and one of the plants had a deep purple stem. The husk was also the same interesting shade, so this was worth a go in the dye pot. Both stem and husk spent a week or so drying, but am not sure this was entirely necessary, considering the deep burgundy colour of the liquor.
As often happens, the true shades haven’t come out quite true. Similarly to the basil, the modifier deepened the shades and the alkaline brought out the green. This time, however, the acid brought out the red. I’m eager to try these for both light- and wash-fastness (when I’ve finished with all the other samples in the ever-growing mound).
And the corn? The cobs that did develop to any size were not impressive (although the colours were interesting). Most had started to go mouldy inside, and some of the kernels which seemed not fully developed had even started to sprout. I’ll put this down to the weather this summer, as well as my lack of experience with this crop.
Juglans regia, feuilles séchées de noyer, getrocknete Walnussblätter, hojas secadas de nogal, duilleoga gallchnó thriomaithe
This doesn’t count as a new dyepot as it was done a few weeks ago. Honest.
I can’t remember if I weighed the leaves; if so, it would’ve been at about 200% wof. They dried quickly, hung in bunches in the shed. When I decided all moisture had abandoned them, a quick squeeze and rub showed they were still quite flexible and not ready to crumble like dried herbs.
The results speak for themselves – an interesting variety of shades, and along with the results from the fresh leaves, quite a range all from one tree.
Now I’m imagining a tartan dyer and weaver living in the vicinity of a walnut tree and having his own plaid in a dozen shades of brown. A project for the future? Next year, perhaps…
Persea americana, peaux et noyeaux d’avocat, Avocadoschale u. Kerne, cáscara y semillas de aguacate, craiceann is síolta avocado
This will probably be the last dyepot for a while (he says) and let’s face it, the bag of frozen, sliced avocado pits is in danger of being evicted for more deserving residents of the top tray.
I still have a jar of slowly-fermenting pit slices in the laundry awaiting a skein of cotton, but wanted to see how the pits and skins turned out on wool – without a ferment or any other long preparation involving alkalines that might damage the fibre.
200% wof pits were simmered for 45 minutes, the liquor strained over the skeins, followed by a further 45 minutes’ simmering. The bottom row shows the results with an alum/CoT mordant (2, 4 & 6) only darkening (dirtying? or maybe “saddening”) the shades slightly, the bicarb modifier (3 & 4) darkening the pink, and the vinegar modifier (5 & 6) lightening it.
As for the peel (top row), 200% wof dried (all that I had) was soaked in water kept (on-and-off) at approximately 60oC for an hour or two, then again strained over the skeins to be kept at approximately 60oC for another hour. All except the first (no mordant, no modifier) came out more brown than pink/red despite the liquor being a nice shiraz mataro colour, with the mordant and bicarb working together (4) to bring out a honey colour.
Try one more time? I have plenty of frozen and dried pits, but will maybe save these for an upcoming workshop rather than risk being buried under piles of pink skeins. I’ ve tried, Mary Ellen, I’ve tried…
Punica granatum, écorce de grenade, Granatapfelschale, cáscara de granada, craiceann pomegranáit
I’ve had quite a stock of dried pomegranate peel sitting around in the larder (I refuse to call it a “pantry” as most Australian-born do – sounds too much like something out of Upstairs Downstairs and we don’t have a maid). So, after obtaining a beige tone on alpaca yarn some time ago, I wasn’t expecting anything more.
I used 200% wof on wool, and chose the bits of rind with the reddest colouring. The alkaline modifier (skeins 3 & 4) darkended the colours, whilst the acid modifier (5 & 6) lightened them. Skeins 1, 3 & 5 demonstrate that no mordant is required. Each shade obtained is, however, worthy in its own right and in real life all are far more vivid.
I had read somewhere that pomegranate, being high in tannin, is also worth consideration in making turmeric more light-fast… Wonder what it will do for alkanet? I just had to try, so in the dye bath mentioned in the previous post, six doppelgangers (that doesn’t seem right without the umlaut, aber ich bin sicher, Ihr konnt es mir vergeben) were thrown in for an overdye.
The original shades of pomegranate alone were strong and I suppose I should’ve repeated the experiment with yellow rind, and maybe at 100% wof. Oh well, let’s just shove some skeins in the pot and see what we get…
…more interesting shades with pinky (and perky) overtones. The light-fast testing will be interesting. Tomorrow’s been downgraded to 41oC (how cool…) whilst Sunday is still forecast to be 42oC. Even if it stays below that, there’s plenty of UV around for the test.
Just as an aside, I “marked” the pre-dyed pomegranate skeins with some bits of other wool. How did they emerge from the alkanet bath? GREY AND PURPLE! Grr!!!
Anchusa tinctoria, orcanette, rothe Ochsenzunge, alcana, boglas
I don’t think I’ve had quite as much linguistic fun and dyepot surprises from any one plant before. While looking up names of alkanet in other languages, I went from English through Irish to ancient Greek, then back to German and Swedish. Let me explain…
The variety/varieties of Anchusa and related genus Pentaglottis are known in northern Europe as either bugloss or ox tongue. I couldn’t find one source that would tell me the name of Anchusa tinctoria in Irish/Gaelic (though I did come up with scorsa luibh, then found I couldn’t verify this anywhere else), so wondered if perhaps bugloss came from the Irish bog/bogach + glas = green o’ the bog – that’s my name, not one I found somewhere else). Well, no. It appears that bugloss actually comes from Old French, from Latin, from ancient Greek and means “ox tongue”. Well, at least it would have fitted in nicely with Irish and not stuck out like a sore thumb… Nach bhfuil mo bhuglas alainn an bhliain seo! Any genuine gaeilgoir is welcome to make corrections here and should make allowances for a sassenach gan m(h)úinteoir.
OK, back to the dyepot… In an earlier post, I’d obtained pure black from steeping the roots in alcohol. This time I tried steeping the roots in water alone for a week, then doing the usual. The results were quite surprising, considering two Guild buddies had come up with purple and grey. All the shades obtained were quite distinct, but the most notable results were that no mordant keeps the red, whilst an alkaline modifier transforms the reds to green shades. Here’s an intersting source if you’re interested in the chemistry: green alkanet
So what happened to the purple? Have a look at the spoon which I hadn’t de-gunked before stirring. I may very well give this one more go before I give up. Beirthe nó caillte…
sem. Helianthus annuus, graines de tournesol, Sonnenblumenkerne, semillas de girasol, síolta lus na gréine
I’ve had a jar of sunflower seeds, var. “Van Gogh”, sitting in the cupboard for about two years now, so high time to use them. The plants grew to just under 6’/2m tall and had large heads. Fortunately for me and the dyepot, they were sterile so the birds and rats left them alone.
The seeds are blacker than black, and I think I used 2 x WOF, but didn’t write it down. A few more grammes were added to offset any non-dyestuff (the brown bits), and then the whole lot was simmered for about 45 minutes, producing a deep, purplish-black liquor.
After straining the liquor on to the mini-skeins, the yarn was simmered for another 45 minutes. If there was any smell, I can’t remember, so probably not. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything marvellous, so was more than pleased with the results.
Skeins 1 and 5 (left to right) gave red-brown with no mordant (5 had a vinegar modifier), while mordanting brought out the browns (2, 4 & 6). Skein 4 was modified with bicarb, which turned it an interesting shade of green-brown. And the end use? Going on results of light- and wash-fastness (to come soon), I can see a pair of socks using several of the colours together..
I choose wine by the quality (together with the price), but when the bottle comes in an organza bag, that’s an added bonus. I now have a sizeable collection and there’s always at least one hanging on the washing line at any time of the year. In summer there can be a good half-dozen.
Leaves are generally tied in a bundle to hang off the laundry door for a week or so, but when flowers are plucked one or a small handful at a time, they go into the wine bags (gift bags, not goon bags) on the back wire of the clothes line where they get shade 24/7. This also goes for tagetes heads which would otherwise shed hundreds of seeds over the floor.
I originally spread some wire fencing over the “rafters” in the shed, placed flyscreen wire on top and spread dahlia flowers over that to dry. Now I find that if there are not too many in one go, they too can go into a wine bag. This is only practical in summer, where they can dry within a day; in winter the tree dahlia heads go mouldy when piled into a bag.
And avocado pits? When a colleague donates them on a daily basis, they stay on my desk shelf at work and dry well without going mouldy. Easy! At home they get put into a bag along with the skins – after going over both with a nail brush to get rid of any remaining flesh.
On the right: half-a-year’s harvest of lemon myrtle from the 50cm-high specimen in a pot. I remember buying 100g of these about 18 years ago when they were $50/kg! Although they’re not native to SA, they’re really easy to grow both in pot and in open ground.
Foeiniculum vulgare et Verbascum thapsus, fennel and mullein, fenouil et molène, Fenchel und Pyramiden-Königskerze, hinojo y gordolobo, finéal is coinnle Muire
Fennel is quite a weed in the Adelaide Hills, and every day on my way home I’ve eyed a large patch from the train window. Unfortunately it’s along the stretch of the line where mobile reception is bad, so I can never get an exact fix on its location. Still, there was a smaller bunch growing near my local station, so a-harvesting I went.
The result was not good at all – maybe because I’d included stem instead of more leaves and flowers? I can try again next week. Rather than waste the yarn, I decided to overdye with mullein.
The mordanted yarns came up more yellow, or rather a more intense (albeit slight) shade of the same mustardy-yellow. I wonder if the texture of the yarn had anything to do with refraction (the yarn is now at the end of the ball and is a lot more open, like singles rather than plied).
I first came across the German name for mullein in one of Horst Bienek’s novels; a boy collects the flowers and sells them to the local chemist. Interestingly, the name translates into English as King’s candle, whereas the Irish name is Mary’s candle. Other English names are Aaron’s rod and Adam’s rod… not to mention Cowboy’s toilet paper.
Dolly’s second outing on the same day was to model a shawl. Before I go any further, I should point out that this is not some weird fetish; the model is named after a real-life character from childhood visits to my grandparents’ in Battersea. No resemblance other than the name.
The pattern is Alina Appasova’s Pinwheels Lace Shawl on Ravelry, and the yarn is handspun Finn x English Leicester. The fleece had so many different qualities of wool, and typically instead of spreading the fleece and separating them, I flicked and spun several locks at a time before moving on to a different location in the bag. The pattern and the yarn gave a springy, lacy knit that holds its shape and is definitely for cold season wear.
The yarn was dyed with Eucalyptus cinerea, sideroxylon, nicholii, amplifolia (the latter overdyed – see post below), and some of these blended. I had no idea how the colours would go together, and how I would achieve this, so in the end just went for knitting to the pattern until one ball ran out and choosing another, going down the scale from red to brown, dark to light, and finishing with darker and redder again. It worked.
This was given to the same recipient as the Wuthering Heights scarf, but as a birthday present in advance (to make up for the other one being late).