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Monday, 29 October 2012

Merino Dyeing

This is the last of my lovely merino fleece which I bought last summer at Le Lot et La Laine wool festival up near Cahors.  It's been a beautiful fleece (from Maco Merinos), so soft and easy to spin.  Hopefully I'll get up to the festival again next year (they only run it every two years) to buy some more.

The first photo is the result of ALL the weld I had growing in the garden.  I harvested it a while ago but was not ready to dye with it, so I hung it in the greenhouse to dry.  I wonder if it would have given more colour if the plant had been fresh.

It's the first time I've dyed with weld (Reseda luteola), but probably not the last.  It's supposed to be one of the most light-fast of the yellow dyes, which can be rather fugitive (i.e. they fade in sunlight).

This next one turned out brighter than I'd thought it would.  The dye was made in the spring from some fresh, young, green bracken and then stored in a plastic bottle until I found time to dye with it.  It didn't seem to suffer at all, i.e. no traces of mould, so I put some more merino in a pan with the dye and heated it for about an hour.

At the same time as I made the green bracken dye, I also tried some of last year's old, brown bracken.  Think this one is a candidate for over-dyeing!  I won't bother with that again.

Not very impressive, eh?

Here it is next to the young bracken dyed merino just for comparison :-

Rather dull and dismal next to the other one.

I have some walnut hulls soaking in water at the moment, so may use that to overdye it, or maybe I could use the pomegranates a friend brought for me the other day.  Some of them are a bit damaged, and not really edible, so I could use those.

The last photo is an accumulation of dyeing projects this year, all using merino.  I really need to find the elusive green, or overdye some yellow with woad.  That's really the only colour missing.

Top row, from left : red dock seeds, lichen, young green bracken;
Middle row, from left : black beans, madder, apricot bark;
Bottom row, from left : weld, woad, blood peaches.

Now I just need to find a project to use all of these colours!

1 comment:

  1. These look fantastic! I love that picture with all the dyed wool together and the woad is particularly lovely. I really must have a go at dyeing again :)