Thursday, April 23, 2009

Indigo and Goldenrod

Otherwise known as blue and yellow.
And for those inquiring minds, my hair does look much better today, and I was at work on time. Okay, so I was a little late (as usual) but not hours or anything.
Back to natural dyeing. We (and I use that term loosely - I just kinda hung around, taking pictures and asking questions) cooked up the goldenrod on the kitchen stove. I wasn't there when it was first mixed up, so I don't know what it started out as. When I got to it, it looked like this:
Before fiber:
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With fiber:
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The fiber ended up yellow, naturally, but to our modern day eyes, used to all our synthetic bright colors, it seemed a bit dull. Well, it seemed so, before I looked at these pictures. Here it seems pretty nice.
Natural Dyeing

Because some didn't seem to LOVE their goldenrod yellow, they decided to dip the skeins in indigo, hoping to get a green. Lisa decided that she would go all color renegade on us, and opted for a bi-colored skein, as evidenced in the next picture.
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Notice the greens in the preceding pictures. Pretty cool, huh?

Now let's move to the indigo. The ladies (okay, Cindy) brought her stash of pre-reduced indigo. I've never done any indigo dyeing before, but I've since learned that there are different ways to do it. She forgot the instructions, but kinda remembered how to do it. Good memory, because it worked. I think she called it a "cold process" dye, because unlike the goldenrod and cochineal, she just used cold water. First though, she had to put some Rit Color Remover in the water. Apparently oxygen is the devil when it comes to indigo dyeing, and the color remover takes the oxygen out of the water. Who knew? There was some talk about the "olden days" when they used urine during the indigo extraction process. Preferably the urine of an adolescent male. Again, who knew? Okay, back to dyeing. Then Cindy added some of the pre-reduced indigo powder. Wait, that's backwards. According to my pictures, first she added the dye, then the color remover. That's better.
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It dissolved nicely, and I noted that the water had a greenish/navy tint to the top of it, sort of like an oily sheen. She then took some fiber (which had been soaking in water and Synthrapol (sp?) and gently, gently, gently (no air - remember?) lowered it into the container of dye.
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She then (gently) used a spoon to push it down into the water even more.
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At this point I'm thinking it looks pretty, um, yucky, but was smart enough (for once) to keep my mouth shut.
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We weren't scientific about the process (remember, no instructions?) so we just winged the time the fiber spent in the dye bath. Anyone who has dyed with indigo knows that the best part is taking the fiber out and watching it turn blue. I tried to get some action shots of it happening, but you have to look close. It was truly amazing, and smack my momma, the fiber was beautiful!! This process didn't require any mordant, so once the skeins were rinsed with plain water, they were ready to hang out to dry.
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If you look closely, you can see the very top of the fiber starting to turn blue as it oxidizes.
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Here it is as it gets excess water and dye squeezed out of it. See how it's changed now?

Here's some over dyeing:
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The fiber ended up a beautiful dark blue, because of the original color.dyeing day 081

It took evert bit of will power I possessed not to grab all this gorgeous yarn and take off down the road. I just wasn't sure I could run faster than everyone else.
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5 comments:

Marie said...

Those yarn colors are really nice. I bet you had fun.

MichelleB said...

I think you should have TRIED to run faster than everyone. It's beautiful yarn.

Liz said...

Oh, how pretty. I have never dyed yarn before. It looks like quite the undertaking. Yet the results are simply beautiful.

brenda (bssmet@comcast.net) said...

I linked to your blog from simple yarn. Love it! You are so funny. I have a non knitting question -- what nexxus product (never heard of this brand) do you use. I have out of control curly hair and would love to know how you control yours.

Betsy said...

The gold dye with the yarn in it looks kind of like a rich ramen noodle soup, doesn't it? Fiber soup. Yum!