Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dyeing with Native Daphne

It is still wet and no real sign of it staying fine enough to head out  to do any shed building, painting, or collecting materials for natural dyeing.  I would need to set up a tent etc.  and with no facilities yet it wouldn't be very comfortable.  So while I wait I will make do with what I can find around the garden here. 

My first experiment was with a bunch of Native Daphne leaves boiled in an old aluminium base electric fry pan. I had offered this pan online to Freecyclers ...twice....but had no takers.  So glad now, as it has become my official indoor dyeing pot .

It was a quick experiment using some hand washed uncarded lambs wool staples stuffed in a small onion bag just to see if these leaves gave any colour.  I filled the pan to the brim with leaves and covered them with tap water.  I started on a high setting, but found that I could keep a good simmer on the number 2 setting.  After about 40 minutes I popped in the bag of wool and simmered for another half hour.  As an after thought I threw in a slurp of vinegar.  If I was using a pit fire I would certainly let it cook a lot longer.

Experienced natural dyers may throw up their hands in horror at the process, but I did get some colour and turned off the pan shortly after it appeared. In the dull night light I though I had a grey colour and planned to use it in a felt picture.  I  left it soaking it in juice over night and in the light of day I was delighted when I discovered a lovely soft green.  The photos don't show the true is best described as a lovely pastel Grannie Smith apple green.

I will be trying another native I have growing in my garden to day....I don't know what is is called, but hopefully one of my readers will be able to tell me 
     when I post the pictures.

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