|Ragweed yarn in ammonia. Pretty.|
Party Of One? I had a good time anyway, and I didn't have to share my dyestuffs - which is both good and bad. Good because I got to dye more of my stuff. Bad because it's always fun to share with friends. Ah well, "stuff" happens (like fall colds, getting called into work, and over-booking)... I really don't smell that bad... really.
I've been collecting dyestuffs all last year & this summer, and I've been spinning like mad to get enough yarn to dye up. At 1/2 lb. I decided to cave in and mordant a bunch of yarn in alum, and cook up the weeds!
I use a "divide by 4" equation to figure out how much mordant to fiber I need.
To make it easy:
1 lb. of wool = 16 oz.
16 divided by 4 = 4 oz. alum
2 tbsp = 1 oz. alum
4 x 2 = 8 tbsp alum into mordant water per lb. of fiber.
(or something like that)
In no particular order...
In this case, it's literally a weed: Ragweed.
We cut the weeds in early summer (June), which was a little late to be doing that for a "young plant" but I swear they didn't grow until then! Supposedly the color they give you is "olive green"... um, yeah... but with no info on what mordants, what fibers, hot/cold, how long, after-mordants, etc. it was impossible to tell how the claim of "olive green" came about. Anyway, I didn't get olive green, I got golden yellow, which is quite lovely - as you can see.
|Itch. Itch. Itch.|
|It smelled soooooo good.|
I was smart enough to wrap this batch of dyestuffs up in gauze (unlike the comfrey, which I'm still picking out of the yarn), so when I pulled the bag out of the "tea" there was very little straining that had to be done. One paper towel in a colander took care of the escapees.
1 hr. of boiling extracted a good amount of dyestuffs, and I set the rest aside to see what I would get, (I later boiled it a 2nd time with fresh water for another hour & combined all that for another batch that is only a little weaker than the first - it's in a milk jug, carefully labeled, right now). I can tell you that the kitchen smelled like the best tea you've ever tasted. It was amazing. No, I didn't taste it.
|yarn simmering in ragweed dye|
In went my trial hank of wool yarn, which I simmered for 1 hour then let it sit overnight because there wasn't much initial color change. GOOD decision.
|Ragweed dyed yarn - wet. It got more golden as it dried.|
It's more gold/orange now as it dries.
So, in short, here's the Ragweed Recipe:
1 gal. bag dried ragweed in gauze bag, simmer/boil 1 hr.
Remove bag & strain.
Add hank of alum-mordant yarn.
Boil/simmer 1 hr. Let cool & sit overnight.
Remove & drain yarn.
After-mordant in ammonia & cold water mixture. Dunk a few times.
Rinse in cold water.
Spin out & hang or lay to dry.