Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dyeing, Flowers

Pretty delphinium - all gone now. Big rain last night killed many of the older flowers.

Foxglove - all gone now.

This pink ecineachea is blooming, and survived the rain.

This regular old purple variety is about to bloom. Ecineachea has interesting shapes, even pre-bloom.

Lily, also recently deceased. They are such fragile flowers, even at the best of times.

White cosmos. Very pretty. At moment, I think it's my favourite annual, in all of it's colours.

What I did with my most recent weekend - dyeing woolstuffs with natural dyes. I invited a few friends over - Nina and Vandy. We used madder roots, madder plant tops, ladies' bedstraw, alkanet root, and two different dyebaths from woad leaves - all from my own garden!

We were busy!

Darrell brought us this tripod to hang our dye pots on. That's the madder tops and alkanet roots in those two pots. Their colours turned out somewhat disappointing so I have no pictures of their end result. Both the alkanet and the madder tops gave us a distinctly boring beige.

The woad results were mixed. I've never used woad before but it has such an air of complex mystery that even this little tiny bit of blue was exciting, but it was such a tiny bit that it was a bit disappointing too. I think I just didn't have enough woad leaves, or abundantly healthy plants to clip from, to produce enough pigment for the really exciting results.

Although, it's interesting..... this secondary colour from the leaves turned out quite nicely. It's bang on the results one is supposed to get from a secondary dye bath from the woad leaves - a pretty peach.

And madder is always a show-stopper. There are so many different ways you can use madder to get different results. For that straight up WOW of watching wool turn a different colour - just harvest roots that are at least three years old, rinse them well, chop them up......

.....throw them in water and simmer and add your wool stuff and simmmer.....

.......and watch that magic! Bright orangey red!


1 comment:

Nina said...

That pale blue is close to what I had the first time I tried woad with only a few leaves. That madder colour though is quite incredible and even better than you grew it yourself.

You take love photos of your plants. This rain has made my garden start to grow wildly and somewhat uncontrolled. Not nearly as pretty as yours.