Dyeing swifter fleece with nettles (not)(nottles)

At the cabin this weekend I gathered a bunch of nettles and put them in a bucket with warm water to soak overnight. Woke up to a black tarry substance. Ew.

Added hot water and brought it to a boil, for about an hour:

In the same time I mordanted 300 grams of white, washed Swifter in warm water with alum. Then I did some more research on the net and read about someone who got nice green by using 6 times the weight of the wool in nettles. So I won’t use all the wool for this pot of nettles. I took about half.

I strained the liquid and used it to dye about 150 grams of prewashed fleece. Heated it for hours. But it wouldn’t take the colour:

At the end of the day I have greyish fleece…
. That’s what I was aiming for, that was what I was hoping to spin. I have no idea what went wrong. Perhaps the nettles I took were too mature? Or had grown too much in the shadow? Should I have added more alum?

I took the remainder of the white fleece and cooked it up with the leftover dye bath of the red onion skins:

Nice yellow 🙂 Not a trace of the green that dyed the sock yarn in the same dye bath. What a riddle this plant dyeing is!

We then had to leave nature behind and go back to the city, boohoo.
Here I have to prepare for an abdominal CT scan on Tuesday so today I can’t eat anything and I have to drink a litre of sweetened barium gooey and overall I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself. (but not as sorry as when this had been a colonoscopy, with a camera up the bum!)

To pick myself up I made some more photo’s of the onion dyed skein. The colour is beautiful and intense. And so hard to grasp! Even on these photo’s it looks a bit washed out but in reality it is not, not for one bit 🙂


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