Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Dye Results of Woad #5

Woad #5
Woad Dye #5 Results: Quite a bit of colour this time. The curious orange/pink one on the left is from the woad leaves after the indigo was extracted.
I am very curious to say the least to see what these fibres look like spun up & plied. Some of these are destined for my handbag weaving.

Tea time and spinning await me now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Woad Experiments

With fall officially here now I had to get in my last woad dye day before we woke up with frost. Too little spare time on my hands and too many must do projects. I could not put this off. The weather surprised me by not getting the promised rain and storm, so I went ahead with the woad dye.

I harvested all of the first year woad leaves except the new leaves coming in the center of each plant. This will allow the plant to continue into its second year when it will produce the seeds in 2011.

I followed a somewhat different method of preparation as follows:
1. Gather all the leaves of the woad.
2. Drop leaves into very hot water in large pot on stovetop. Add a little lemon juice or vinegar to have it a bit acidic. Hi heat for 3 min., but keep below boiling point. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Drain off dye liquor. Leaves can be used to produce other colours from yellows to pinks to orangey colours with addition of alum and cream of tarter.
4. Now the baking soda is added to turn alkaline. Check with ph paper. It should be at 9 or 10. The temp must be kept at 130-140.
5. Using a stick blender aerate dye bath for 10-15 minutes until you see the indigotin is developing.
6. Add the reducing agent. Thiox or Rit colour remover. (hydrogen hydrosulfite). Dissolve it in some hot water, then add to vat.
7. Let sit 1 hour. It must be a yellow colour, even if it is very dark. Ready now for adding the soaked wool. Soak for 10 minutes, then aerate for 10 min. Repeat.
After addition of Thiox. Ready to dye.
8, Rinse the next day. If the colour is a bit greenish, 1 T. vinegar can be added to the last rinse.
Shetland 2 ply. Woad dye. Not rinsed.

Uncarded wool.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rag Rug

Here is the finished denim jean rag rug. I know some of you were wondering if it would ever be finished, but it's done; not perfect, but I think charming.
I hope I made all the beginner's mistakes in it & I won't make any more mistakes for a while. It's a learning process and time consuming.

Jasper modeling & being a sweetie with the new rug.
This morning when I couldn't sleep I got up in time for a truly beautiful sunrise and ran back in for the camera before it disappeared.
Sunrise in Paradise
There was much more than pictured above - the sky was filled with blazing pinks and oranges! Spectacular!

Last week I had the pleasure of going on a road trip with two weaving friends for weaving supplies at Camilla Valley near Orangeville and a side trip to Wellington Fibres. The company of my two friends was so very nice and we had a great day out. Lots of driving, but worth every minute. I came home with a few more colours in my cotton 8/2 palette and a luscious blend of wool and mohair roving from Wellington Fibres which I am spinning up in my spare time.

I thought that two nights ago I would be weaving my next project, but as usual the preparations have taken much longer than I anticipated. I now have the warp beamed and I am ready to thread the heddles. This is the first project using the sectional beam with the tension box and spool rack. They work well together and I don't need a helper to beam the warp.

When I am off this weekend I will have to harvest the woad and try again for the indigo pigment. I might try another dyeing method.

Have a good night.