in late august (or was it early spetember?), i dyed more yarn, this time using goldenrod. we have soooo much of this around us that it was a no-brainer when looking for natural dye stuffs. i followed the recipe from rebecca burgess’s harvesting color, which required 10 times (ten!) the weight of plants to yarn. for two 3.5 oz skeins (7 oz total), i needed 70 ounces of goldenrod! i use a 10 gallon pot to dye in, and that thing was filled right up to the brim with plants! we actually had to cook it down and then add more in order to get it all in. after you simmer the plant matter for an hour, she instructs you to put the yarn into the pot, but 1) there was no room! and 2) the yarn would have gotten lots of bits of flowers stuck in it. so we had to strain it, then reheat and add the yarn. it was quite the process, taking at least two days, but it yielded a really deep, mustardy yellow.
i’ve already started a sweater for the bee!
i made myself a little scrap paper book, to use as a dye journal, and have pressed some flowers to include with yarn samples and the technical info. i’m looking forward to sharing it with you once i have it all together! it’s taking me forever to put things into, as i keep looking and thinking about it as a finished object on it’s own, instead of a place to keep my notes and experiments.
i saved the goldenrod dye bath because it didn’t seem like it had been exhausted yet, and i’d really love to try dyeing (or printing!) some cotton fabric. in rebecca’s book, she says that alum alone does not do a great job of mordanting cotton, and suggests using ground acorns for their tannins. somehow the tannins work with the alum to create deeper colors. i collected about a pound and a half of acorns from my in-laws woods two weekends ago, only to discover that they were filled with little fat white worms when i went to shell and grind them. at least i’m calling them worms. mister used the M word, and i nearly climbed right out of my skin. i tried smashing them to get the nut out despite the cute little baby worms, but they were completely chewed up and pretty disgusting and useless. AND, earlier that afternoon, i’d found three (THREE!) dead mice in our watering can on the porch! i had to pour the poor smelly swollen little things out into the field. i just about gave up on the day. ugh, nature. amiright? anyway, i think i’ll just try alum alone. and keep the watering can in the basement from now on.