Monday, August 26, 2013

dyed in the wool

 I'm knitting a sweater right now.  This one.  I started it in April, and I am a little over half done with it.  Its slow going with garden season being in full swing, and thanks to all the hot weather it really hasn't been a knitting summer for me.  But I am loving that sweater, and I know I'll finish it, eventually.  In the meantime, I felt like I needed an instant gratification project that involved wool.   I read an article about dying wool with common garden plants, so I decided to dye up a couple skeins of natural wool I had lying around with some of the many marigolds that are growing in every raised bed I planted. August has brought us some much cooler weather and the idea of manning a boiling pot for several hours seemed more palatable than it did a few weeks ago.
I was expecting yellow, but what I ended up with was closer to chartreuse.  I'm not complaining... I love the greens.  The one on the right was the first dye batch, and the one on the left was using the same dye and doing a second dying (hence the lighter color.) I wonder if the resulting color is because my marigolds are mainly red? The dye bath looked very red.  I used alum as a mordant.  It was a simple process--one that I fully intend to repeat with some other plants...soon....but first I need to finish up that sweater.  I can see how fiber dying with found plant material could become an addictive habit. It has a certain alchemical element to it that is hard to resist.  The colors are so rich too... lovely lovely.  It's going to be hard to not start up another knitting project before that sweater is finished....hmmmm....maybe just a simple little shawl?  I'm sure that would be quick and easy to knit up between rounds of kid wrangling and laundry folding right?

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