Friday, May 22, 2015

- Only one out of eleven, but no complaints: Wildflower dye trials

Well, the re-dye trial results were pretty disappointing overall. The steel wrapped cloths were gray-day sad and most of the copper wraps were ho-hum yellows.

But there was one happy exception: the burgundy and gold petals from the Mexican hats ... 


So the new plan is to wash out the steel wraps ...


and the copper wraps ...


then over-dye them all with as many Mexican hat petals as I can harvest before the flowering season ends. Shouldn't be too hard to do ...


- In a pickle: Taking a second pass at the dye trials

I decided to do some re-dyeing using cloth from the less-than-wonderful results of my earlier dye trials (I did keep all six of the lichen and onion trials, along with one alum-mordanted Salvia amistad), So seven new bundles for good luck: 
  • Mountain pinks (I think) from the floodplain
  • Twin-leaf senna ditto
  • Mexican hats aka Thimbleflowers with dark burgundy and yellow petals from the side yard (bundled in what I think was the alum-mordanted red cabbage cloth from the previous trial)
  • A second Mexican hats bundle with yellow petals only
  • Lantana and Indian blankets from the floodplain and garden (mixed together)
  • Arugula stems with coffee grounds (fished out of the compost bowl)
  • Mealy blue sage (reapplied to the previous alum-mordanted mealy blue trial)
All wrapped in copper wire and steeped in a copper pot for half an hour with alum, vinegar and water (aka pickle juice) ...


Then, four more bundles added later, because there were still some other pieces of cloth that weren't all that great ...
  • Dried rosemary (from a spice jar that I think came with us from Virginia six years ago)
  • An unidentified woody floodplain herb (probably a weed, but I love the resinous scent ... later identified as Prairie Te)
  • One whole prickly pear flower (which I discovered has spines ... ouch)
  • And uh ... something else ... oh, now I remember ... large pieces of windfall lichen (I've used smaller bits in the past, but the recent rains have gifted me with several lichens over 1" in diameter)
All four were re-bundled in the bungled steel wire dye trials, re-wrapped in steel wire and put in the copper pot, which was then rewarmed on a hot plate for 20 minutes or so. A few hours later, because I couldn't leave well enough alone, I tipped all the bundles upright, left them overnight, then found them looking like this in the morning ...


Most (but not all) were labelled with a sepia Pitt pen before being rolled up ... it should be interesting to see if it survives the dye pot. Also, all the dyestuffs were laid out and folded as they were here, but at right angles to the previous dye trials, fold lines from which were still visible in varying degrees of faded-ness. I was hoping to get a nine-patch effect, but at this point I'm sort of disappointed to see that there isn't much happening along the fold lines.

Now the question is, how long to wait ...