My natural dye experiments have continued into the garden; I recently tried gardenia powder to dye some 100% wool yarn, and the results were spectacular. I found a listing for gardenia powder in my favourite dye stuffs shop (for the bits I can’t make myself); KraftKolour, and having a few dollars to spend (thanks to selling some home spun cotton yarn) I bought it. I was really curious to see what sort of colour I could get from a common garden plant. My mother recently found a mixed bag of pure wool in a second hand shop in white which she gave to me (thanks Mum), so I had a decent amount of yarn to play with.
|My equipment and supplies.|
|The yarn my mum found in a second hand shop.|
I decided to mordant my yarn with alum at a rate of 15g per 100g of yarn (and yes I did use a calculator to do the maths).
|I weighed up my alum and popped it into my yard dyeing pot with some water.|
Once I had the alum mixed in fairly well with the water in my dye pot I plonked in the yarn in handy skeins (all tied up with cotton yarn so I didn’t end up with a tangled mess). I bought this pot to a simmer then turned it off and let it sit while I made up the dye.
My dye was mixed at a rate of 6g per 100g of yarn (yes…calculator again) in a big stainless steel pot. The dye comes as a sort of bluish powder but the dye pot goes a dark blue colour. I heated this water up almost to a simmer (close enough to the same temperature as the yarn in the mordant).
Then I fished out my skeins (using my trusty serving fork, that is only used for fibre work) and lowered them into the dye pot.
|The yarn going into the dye pot. How pretty is that.|
|After about ten minutes it was this colour.|
I turned off the heat on the dye pot and let the yarn sit until it was completely cool. Actually it sat in the dye until I remembered what was in the big pot on the bench while I was washing up that evening.
Then I rinsed the yarn in cool water, wrung it out and whacked it against a post to separate any felted strands (force of habit) and hung the skeins up to dry.
|My dried and wound up gardenia dyed yarn.|
I am so impressed with this colour I think I will get spinning and make some merino home spun to try it out on; maybe I can get enough of a single shade to make a jumper or something.