Saturday, 15 August 2009

And now I'm Dyeing!!

That's right, colours not death!!

I'm beginning to feel more myself, in fact, I feel quietly normal 3-4 hours a day which is really useful. My brain is starting to work again so I can formulate ideas and then carry out tasks involving different stages and co-ordinating things. Hurrah! Better not get excited now and try and do too much, just in case it winds the clock back.

It took about 3 weeks to manage to carry out the plan of picking leaves from my Persicaria tinctorium (formally called Polygonum tinctorium) plants and putting them in a large Kilner jar covered with water. I meant to leave them a few days to ferment, but with the ongoing struggle to do much at all that turned into a week. Nevermind. They started fermenting in the jar, the water at the bottom went yellow and the leaves got pushed to the top by gas bubbles, the water at the top surface turned blue. Today I got the Kilner jar into a bain marie - that involved the stainless steel dye bucket with a metal basket from my pressure cooker under the Kilner jar to ensure it was not in contact with the bottom of the pan. I followed instructions from one of my friends in the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers (who had sent me the plant seeds) and heated it very slowly to just under 71 degrees centigrade and now it's cooling.

The next stage involves draining the liquid off the leaves and using an alkali solution (made with Washing Soda from Fibrecrafts) and spectralite... sorry can't remember what I do next, must look at the instructions again.

Anyhow, photos soon.

By the way, I have also wound a warp... more on that another time.


Leigh said...

Yay! So glad you're feeling better. And there's nothing like some natural dyeing for cheering oneself up. I'm curious to see those photos.

Janet said...

So glad you are feeling up to blogging again, but do take it easy and don't overdo it.

Meg said...

Yes! Yes! I've never known anyone "personally" who grew indigo plants before!!

And Yay!! to good days/weeks!!

deborahbee said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better, it must be like being born again!!!!I am so excited by dyeing and am looking at all plants with a different eye. i look forward to your photos. I am having difficulty with deciding correct Tex-solv size for the Bergman as it comes between two sizes. Ringing Don again this am!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Welcome back. And you would know the present and past Latin names for plants........ I admire that. I'm afraid those that I know that have changed names still go by their old names. Fortunately (good)nurseries still generally use both names.

Helen said...

Hi Dot I ma glad you are feeling better- and your experiment sounds really interesting.I had not heard of that method of getting blue from persicaria- before I will have to try it.

Dorothy said...

Janet - I over did it a bit with the dyeing session! The next day I did lots of sleeping, but feeling better again now. Sadly some way off the "being born again" feeling, but nice thought Deborah, I'll get there.

Hi Peg - there's a lot of botanical Latin spoken in this house! Boyfriend grandson of an old fashioned florist, me daughter of a botanist, both love growing plants especially the unusual.

Helen, I'll give more details when I get my photos posted. A couple of my skeins are a superb deep french blue - wow!! Found I needed your Indigo book to hand at one point, it was like having my friend when I needed her! Thank you.

ra said...

ooh indigo, that's exciting (though I'm disappointed you're using washing soda rather than the traditional method!). I went to a dying workshop at guild on Saturday, but we were using artificial dyes. Great fun though and I'm very pleased with the results. Glad you're feeling a bit better, don't do too much too fast though.

Life Looms Large said...

I'm glad that you spelled that right!! And I'm glad you're starting to feel somewhat back to normal!! Hope your health continues to improve.

From the description of your dyeing project, I wonder if photos will look prettier or more slimy than I'm imagining. It amazes me sometimes that early humans were willing to go through so much effort for colors for clothing and their homes. (Of course, I routinely meet people who are amazed that I go to the effort of weaving or knitting....)

Oooohh - there's a warp we'll get to see too! I'm impressed and excited.

Glad to see that the color you ended up with came out a beautiful blue!!! Can't go wrong with blue!!

Take care!!


Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Dorothy
Great to hear that you are feeling better and dyeing Have not used Persicaria tintorum-in fact don't know what it is although I suspect that it's not woad
Anyway hope the final result is good after all the hard work Look forward to photos !