Total Pageviews

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Gorgeous Green

Today the baby alpaca came out of the dyepot - and I was a bit surprised to see how different it was to the wool sample I dyed yesterday :-

That one is a really bright, vibrant green (in fact, it looks like I've photo-shopped it, but it's the original photo taken in exactly the same light as the top photo) and I couldn't understand why the baby alpaca was duller.  I love both colours, but the ratios of wool to flowers were almost the same in each case.  Then I realised what I'd done.

When I dyed the small sample, I used an aluminium or stainless steel pan, I'm not sure just what it is.  But when I did the second batch I needed a much bigger pan so used my large enamel one.  Enamel is usually good for dyeing because it won't change the colour of the dye.  Unfortunately, it's getting a bit old and there are some "dinks" in the enamel where bits are missing.  Underneath these patches it's probably a bit rusty, and rust = iron oxide.  Iron is a mordant and is often used as an after-bath to alter the colour of dyes.  Iron "saddens" the colour, and I think that's what's happened here.

I think I'll have to spray the pan with some enamel paint so it doesn't happen again.

I was just about to throw the rest of the contents of the dyepot onto the compost heap this morning when I realised there was actually quite a lot of colour left in there.  I strained the dead flowers out (which were getting a bit pongy) and put some of the liquid into a large plastic bowl.  I still had one more skein of baby alpaca which I'd mordanted, so that has gone into the bowl.  I'll leave it in there for a few days and see what comes out.  If it's a brighter colour it'll just reinforce my theory of the pan being to blame.


  1. very, very beautiful color, i love it!
    bye from switzerland,

    1. Thank you Monica. Your blog is lovely too!

  2. I just luv your pics of daily life in France. It looks a LOT like daily life here in Kentucky! 'Cept our talk has a southern twang instead of a lyrical lilt. Love your "fiber talk". You have a great gift of showing your projects with your photos....lovely!

    1. Thank you so much Alison - very complimentary! Actually, if you heard the accent down here, you'd realise that it has quite a southern twang also, but French southern twang. It is a very agricultural area though, so maybe that's to be expected. Took us a while to get used to the way people spoke down here.