Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wednesday was a wonderful day to d-y-e!


 The pots to the left have 5 ounces each of Angora(goat) roving in them. They also have 1/2 cup of white vinegar and water to cover them. The thermometer is to keep the temperature at the level needed to  get the PH level to make the roving able to absorb the dye we will use and hold it for a 90 minute period to create a permanent color change.

The colander below holds a skein of yarn that has just been taken out of the pot in that it had its mordant set. Note that it is a brown tone and will be over dyed by this process. Meaning that the color will be a permanent change to another color. But remember these fibers and their color. So in the later photos you can appreciate the different colors they become. Influenced not only by the dye but the shade of color or in the case of the white roving no color at all. And a  lot of natural dyes are enhanced by this and become more permanent using mordants. They help set the pigment improving color and light fastness.* The word comes from the Latin word "mordere" meaning "to bite". The ratio for a vinegar mordant is 1/2 cup of white vinegar for every 4 ounces of fiber with water to cover in an enamel or stainless steel pot over 160-180 degree heat for 60 - 90 minutes.
*Light fastness means when the yarn is finished with the entire process there is  less chance of loss of depth of color to exposure of light over time.

 How much fun is this? Those are my hands and in them and on them is our dye source pokeberry aka pokeweed. 
 

Debbie is squeezing the juice out of the berries that we have stripped from the stems and mashed. Once the juice is squeezed out it will be placed in a large enamel container (in real life a water bath canner) with enough water to cover with vinegar added to it in a ratio of 1/2 cup to 1 gallon of water and heated to 160-180 degrees. The amount of berries we collected was about 25 pounds and the ratio is 25:1 pokeberry to fiber weight. After an hour we strained the mushed berries out leaving a nice amount of dye liquid for dipping our fiber into.

Putting the roving into the dye pot. A quick lift up after only a few seconds and look at that dye 
already being absorbed by the roving! We finished filling the pot and brought the temperature to 60-180 degrees for a two hour rest in the "dye spa". No boiling allowed or the dye will fail and one would have to start all over. So we cleaned up the berry smushing mess and brought our spinning wheel and knitting projects out to relax a bit while the fiber steeped its way to perfection. Sorry no photos we were ready to relax and forgot the photo opportunity. We then topped the lid after the two hour period and let the fiber continue to take up the goodness of a lovely dye vat over night. 

The next day when I returned Debbie had done some rinsing of yarns and had them hanging in the carport to dry. These two were the white skeins. The one in the back is the Angora goat http://angoragoats.com/ seen on the stove in the first part of this post.The fiber in the front is a Targhee http://www.ustargheesheep.org/  
                                                                                        The single skein is the yarn that was an over dye.  Remember the skein that was a brown shade in the colander above draining after its trip to the mordant pot.
 The single skein is the yarn that was an over dye . Remember the skein that was a shade of brown in the colander draining at beginning  of  this post ? Look carefully at it and note the difference between it and the two hanging together. The Angora and Targhee are a deeper more gemstone shade than the over dyed skein is.

The roving below is also Angora goat. It went home with me to get several serious rinses in cool water to remove almost all the excess color. All of the fiber involved also sat for 20 minutes or more before rinsing. 

The roving will be washed with a fiber friendly product as I wasn't completed happy with the odor it retained after the process. Since the yarn skeins also retained the same odor I believe it is from the pokeberry plant itself. It wasn't an offensive odor just not pleasant to my way of sniffing. 

All things considered this was a very successful process. I have done a bit of previous dying including lichen , red beet and indigo. I would do the poke berry again with no hesitation. I would like to give a shout out to Rebecca Burgess and her Harvesting Color How to find Plants and make natural dyes . It is a great book and we will most certainly use it again in our dye adventures. Also a big thank you to my partner in dye adventure Debbie. See you next time girl!



2 comments:

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. Hope to see you again soon!