|From Red to Purple: Cochneal, red onion skins, orange peel and powdered turmeric, pomegranate skins, mint and tree leaves, purple cabbage with baking soda, and purple cabbage with vinegar.|
I have always had an interest in natural dyeing and wanted to do it, but hadn't actually taken the plunge!
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who is an experienced dyer, invited me to join her in dyeing several hanks of handspun wool. She had obtained all kinds of natural dyestuffs from Turkey that are used in dyeing wool for rug making. She also had some indigo, and some dyestuffs from Kuwait.
It was an amazing day! We had around 6 pots boiling at all times, and we produced a rainbow of yarn colors! She gave me the confidence to give it a try on my own.
I felt like I wanted to experiment with small quantities of yarn to see what colors I like best and are the most successful. I stumbled upon information about solar dyeing in small jars with basic mordants such as vinegar, baking soda, and alum. It was something I could start right away with supplies I already had in the house!
My daughter was on spring vacation last week, so we did it as a project together. It was a creative science project! We were amazed at the colors of the water. We put the some of dyestuff in the jars with the mordant, and a bit of hot water. Once the alum was dissolved we added hanks of off white wool yarn, and some natural handspun wool, more of the dyestuff and water to fill the jars to the top. We put the lids on and found a sunny spot on the window sill. Fortunately we found a place that gets morning and afternoon sun.
It has been 8 days now, and we are planning to open the jars and check on the yarn next week to see how strong the colors are. I have read that other people kept their yarn in the jars anywhere from 10 days to the entire summer. I don't want the dyestuff to mold, so I probably will only keep them a few weeks.
Stay tuned for an update on our progress. Hopefully the outcome will be some beautiful colors that we can turn into a lovely crochet project or a weaving!