WOOLGATHERERS - DYEING

 

 

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DYEPOT AS ORIGINALLY SET UP - WHEN OUR BOYS WERE SMALL
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DYEPOT SET UP IN WISCONSIN AND RENOVATED
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WHITE AND GRAY HANDSPUN WETTING BEFORE MORDANTING
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HANDSPUN DYED WITH WALNUT SHELLS AWAITING OVERDYEING - DIDN'T LIKE THE BROWN TONE
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ONE POT FULL OF MORDANTED WOOL DRYING ON THE TERRACE
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FRESHLY DYED WOOL (MADDER) RINSING
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MADDER DYED HANDSPUN USED IN A RUG - THIS WAS DONE CA. 15 YEARS EARLIER THAN BATCH IN BATHTUB

 

DYEING is a natural addition to spinning and weaving. My dyeing is almost entirely vegetal - done outside in the dyepot pictured at left.

It was purchased from a farmer in Germany - it is an old wash kettle or butchering kettle - these were used to cook up the parts of a hog used for sausage or as a wash boiler in apartment buildings. The firebox burns either wood or coal making it ideal for washing fresh fleeces as well as running a dyepot. The dyed fiber can remain in the pot overnight or longer and controlling temperature is done with a floating thermometer. By using DuraFlame logs split up into smaller pieces, temperature control is surprisingly easy and accurate.
 
RECORD OF DYEING - SUMMER/FALL 1997
In the summer of 1997, I wished for a good supply of red and blue tones. The following dyebaths produced nearly 20 pounds of dyed yarn and unspun fiber to be used over the next years as a source for various projects.
Materials Used, Suppliers, Prices, Yields
10 Dyebaths recorded - some with nuancing through use of gray wool, walnut dyed wool
Border Leicester, Milk Sheep, Gray Romney, Border Leicester Fleece, Commercial Coopworth yarn (Blackberry Ridge)
NOTE: Quantity of dyed wool measured in grams. 450g=16oz.
ALL MATERIAL MORDANTED  WITH ALUM PRIOR TO DYEBATH.
Basic recipe is one pound of dyestuff to one pound of fiber for deep shades. Using the many basic books on natural dyeing, the ratio of material to dyestuff, as well as information regarding helping substances which can vary the results,  many variations may be tried.
COLOR
DYESTUFF
SOURCE/
PRICE
DESCRIPTION
QUANTITY
5
ALKANNA
Mannings
16 oz./$7
1 bath with washing soda, alcohol soak for dyestuff
550g
6
7
8
BRAZIL-
WOOD
Mannings
16 oz./$8
3 baths
1 brazilwood plain
1 with washing soda
1 with logwood extract added
600g
700g
500g     
15
FAULBAUM
(RHAMNUS)
Fr. Traub, Germany
100g/$5
1 bath to produce reddish yellow color normally used to pre-dye wool destined for madder bath
2500g
9
HENNA
Mannings
16 oz./$8
1 bath
900g
2
3
INDIGO
(Synthetic)
Earth Guild
1 oz./$1.50
with Drano and Thiox, prepared indigo vat, yarns ranged from denim blue to navy
1400g
14
LOGWOOD EXTRACT
Maiwa
8 oz./$29.95
used as addition to partially exhausted red and blue baths
added a purplish/navy coloration
13
4
10
11
MADDER
Fr. Traub, Germany
500g/$15
3 baths
1 plain, under 70 degrees Celsius, with wheat bran
1 brought to simmering with tannic acid added
1 simmered with added logwood extract
1200g
900g
800g
12
SANDAL-
WOOD
Mannings
16 oz./$14
1 bath with tannic acid added
1500g