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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Iris Dyeing

So, today I took my wool out of the mordant and gave it a rinse.  Overnight I'd decided that before I dared commit my baby alpaca to the depths, I'd do a sample with another skein of wool first.  I had a small 20g skein of white wool which I'd mordanted, so weighed out 50g of flowers as I thought that would be plenty to dye this small amount.

I put the frozen flowers in the pan with some warm water and squeezed all the juice from them. The wool went into the water with the flowers and I started to heat it up slowly.

At this point the water was a dark, inky purple and it was hard to believe I'd get any other colour than lilac or blue.  After about 15 minutes, I checked the pan and noticed that most of the colour from the flowers had disappeared, presumably into the wool.  But the wool just looked a dirty, murky off-white colour.  I took another 50g of flowers from the freezer and dumped them into the dyepot having squeezed them first.

I then let the pot sit at a very low simmer (i.e. the water wasn't moving at all, but was very close) for about 45 minutes and then checked the wool.  A lot of the colour had disappeared again, it had to be going somewhere.  I lifted the dirty-looking wool out of the pan and look what I got :-


I've tried so hard in the past to get green from plants, especially those I'd read about which were supposed to give green, but without success.  I really didn't quite believe I'd get such a pretty green from purple flowers - amazing eh?

Well, with that success under my belt I thought I'd better get going with the main dye bath and put in some of my baby alpaca.  When I weighed all the flowers that were left in the freezer and found I had 1400g, I put three skeins in there amounting to 260g.  That's almost the same ratio as I used in the sample so it should come out a similar colour.

The wool is still resting in the dye bath and I'll leave it there until morning.  Fingers crossed everyone!  I'll be a bit gutted if it doesn't work.  More photos tomorrow if you can bear looking at more green wool!


  1. I wouldn't have ever thought that Lilacs would give a minty green color! Beautiful!

    1. Hi Jordyn,
      I'd read about it on one of the natural dyeing groups on Ravelry, but didn't really believe that's what I'd get. This is my first ever green (apart from overdyeing yellow with woad) and I'm really pleased with it.