Saturday, June 10, 2017

A dyeing experiment

I've wanted to try some botanical dyeing on yarn.  Most seem to fade quickly.  The more I read the more I'm attracted to dyeing with black beans or black lentils.   Using this website as my guide I got started today.

It's summer and my house tends to be warmish so I didn't want to keep the lentils in their soaking water just out.  I decided to try it in my mini-fridge set to a lower temp than my big fridge and give it 4 days instead of 2 days of soaking.

I'm using the formula for the deepest blue 1:1.25.  I have 32 oz. of black lentils divided into 4 jars and have poured 10 oz. of yarn into each jar.  

Here are yarn and lentils:

And here are the beans soaking in jars:

I could have done one jar at room temperature but I have 200 grams of yarn and didn't want to lose a drop of "dye".

6/11/17.  The beans soaked up their 10 oz leaving an inch or more of dry beans.   I added 10 more oz of water to each jar.   It is an experiment, after all.

6/13/17, the fourth day.  I waited until evening to pour off the liquid from each jar.  I decided that since the website mentioned not wanting the bean proteins I decided to filter each jar through a coffee filter.    I ended up with almost 40 oz. of bean water!   I'm pretty happy about that.

Look how beautiful these lentils are after soaking.  I see not just blues but quite a few colors.   I'm excited to see what will happen.

Today's steps:  Strain the beans and water through a mesh strainer,  I held the beans back with some plastic wrap.  Then strain the water through a coffee filter.  Return bean water to refrigerator to use another day, hopefully soon.  

So, yesterday, I soaked the yarn, put it in a pot with mordant and let it heat up.    In my worry I don't think I ever really let it simmer.  But, I did rinse it and put it in the dye.  And sure enough after a day soaking in the "lentil juice" there is no color but beige and even that it's probably just the dye water.   So, I took it out to re-mordant with the Alum and the Cream of Tartar.   I'm thinking I may have just botched this batch.

On the other hand, I also soaked the 2nd skein, put *it* in the pot with the mordants and promptly forgot I had it on the stove so it simmered for at least an hour.   Today I rinsed that yarn out and put it into some unfiltered cherry juice that's gone past it's expiration date.   I did filter it before using it.  Didn't think I needed all the sediment at the bottom of the jar. 

I put it where I'm less likely to fiddly with it and will check on it on Sunday.  

We shall see.

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