Thursday, June 30, 2011

I AM Boiling Mad!!

For years I have been weaving and dyeing and brewing.  And all this time I have been taught - don't let your water boil! It will ruin the dye / brew.  So for years I've kept my water temperature at about 180 degrees F.  Not quite at a simmer - just hot enough to see that nice little steam rising off the surface of the water.

So just before we ran off to the wilds of Washington state, I did some one pot dyeing of eucalyptus and stinging nettles.  I'm a lazy dyer and haven't made the time to mordant my yarns for dyeing at a later date.  So I fill my pot with water, dye stuff and the correct amount of Alum (usually about 1tsp) and light up the stove.

The eucalyptus leaves I have received about a year ago and the bag O' leaves have been sitting on the patio in an open bag so they were a little dried out.  Nevertheless, here are the colors I got.

The yarn on the left was in the bath 1/2 hour - the right was 1 hour.  The color is nice - a different shade of yellow with slight ornagey tones.

Then after we came back from our trip, I was at another friend's home helping her shear her sheep (I skirt the fleeces) and we got to talking about the eucalyptus.  She told me that she had heard the longer you BOIL the dyestuff they more orange (almost red) you can get.  BOIL!!!  BOIL THE WATER???!!!!

So I got fresh leaves and went home.  Four weeks later, I MAKE the time to dye and boil the leaves for 2 hours.  Here is the result -

Big change!!  So I guess there are times you should boil.  So, I had also dyed with some stinging nettles from my backyard.  I got a very pale yellow-green (sorry - no pic).  So I thought, let's boil.  So I boiled the water for 1 hour, let it cool down and then added the yarn.

The color is a lot darker then the first attempt.  So now I think when using a lot of the plant stuff, if I don't like the color - try and boil.