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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā

“Just add a little green….”

I wanted to dye a skein of soft fingering yarn cornflower blue.

Because I’ve won the Make-A-Wish-Swap in the Dutch Karma Swap Group again and my wish was for someone to knit me a blue shawlette ūüôā because my eyes looks smashing when I wear blue next to my face but I myself don’t like to knit with blue (???).

Easy plan, easy dye. I went to the cabin yesterday, one day before my husband, and pulled the pots and pans from the wool room. Lillepoes was giving directions.

And I ended up with green instead of blue:

It won’t photograph properly. It’s a deeply saturated dark green with blue semi solid. It was a green variegated yarn to begin with and when adding blue it became VERY BLUEGREEN. The kind I don’t like at all.

Then, while trying to make it a proper green instead of a teal, I mixed too much green dye and then had to find extra things to dye green.

By then it was already¬†getting really late. The cat kept nagging me, demanding food and attention and bed routine. But I knew I had to finish it all before bed (rinsing and spinning it all dry and putting it on the drying rack in the middle of the room) and clean everything¬†up too because things had to be tidy for this morning¬†or my husband and Poekie wouldn’t fit in the room.
dyeing wool
dyeing wooldyeing wool
Oh man, why do I do this to myself? Again and again? (I must secretly love it, that’s the only explanation for it. Alright, alright, the only sane explanation for it.)

Dyeing on the evening of a busy day in which I drove all the way to the cabin, by myself, with Lillepoes loudly giving directions for the full 75 minutes it takes me to drive there and with all the mad people on the road, clearly all letting their blind cats hold the wheel.

Sigh. Stuck with a cup full of extra strong green dye I found myself digging through the stashroom, late at night, frantically looking for more stuff to dye.

Here I am chucking dry fleece and dry silk into the pot with the dark skein from the first pictures:
dyeing wool
The fleece is Swifter that I had dyed too “Autumny” and too blue-green back in the Autumn. It’s such great fleece! Great staple, nice touch, nice smell. When I rooted through the stash-room I had real difficulty not to dismiss all plans I have for the next few days and start carding it right away. Lovely fleece!
This:

became that:

Now card it in with the rest of the white and I’ll spin for a lovely jumper!

Make haste! make haste! I cannot wait to spin this! No. Wait. Noooo. We are knitting the Sock Madness sock while we are at the cabin. We are also casting on for a new vest if we need to do something on bigger needles. And we have the Music Maker sock with us for easy knitting. We have an all day birthday visit on Saturday and an all morning spinning group on Tuesday and we will be travelling back on Wednesday and there were a thousand things you wanted to paint while here. Also shower. So: no. No carding.

The silk skein I threw in is the lovely mulberry silk fingering yarn. But I kept it in short because I want my silk to be lightly coloured. Like willow wisps:

Yes, succes!

Silk soaks up colour like nobody’s business, I could actually use it as “a mop” to drain the dye from the water and dye the fleece evenly and not too dark. I was lucky though, the water had not had vinegar yet which makes dye soak into silk even faster. Too fast would have been a problem here because silk needs to be presoaked for quite a while to become thoroughly saturated. Only thoroughly saturated yarn will take up dye evenly.

Otherwise it will stay on the surface and only in the places that are wet. Which is a desirable effect on its own when dyeing speckles or for a sprayed look. But not for me, this night.

I was also lucky in not overdoing it and dye¬†the silk too intense. It’s hard to gauge a shade when the yarn is wet and when you’re dyeing in the evening. The lamp over my dyepot is a daylight lamp but still… better to dye during the daytime.

I then started the pot again. This time dyeing with just Ashford blue, on an undyed base. But I had no sheep¬†yarn left. I did have more silk though…. not sure my well-wisher wants to knit with it. Silk is slippery, especially this mulberry silk (my favourite!). But the colour is s*m*a*s*h*i*n*g*l*y blue:

I would LOVE to wear this colour near my face.

Again I had to take care to not leave the silk in too long. It is a bit more intense than I wanted. I remember thinking: “O yes, this is just right! Or maybe a little too light?…. I’ll just leave it in the water, the water is nearly clear anyway.”

And then the silk went and soaked every bit of dye it could find and became two or three shades darker than I had wanted. Still beautiful.

For a while I had the silk parked outside the pot and threw in two bits of sparkly sock ¬†yarn to “mop up” the extra dye in the water. When they had done so (but apparently not to the maximum extend) I put the silk back in and heated everything to dyeing temperature and added vinegar

It’s happily blue glitter yarn now ūüôā
The light one used to be light green, the dark one was a multicolour. They now go well together. Perhaps for a crocheted hat?

Aw, the sparkle doesn’t show one bit in the picture. It’s very pronounced in real life though and will look great in crocheted fabric. I have 25 grams of the dark, 45 grams of the light. Enough for a pair of knitted socks for me. Enough for a crocheted hat?

workshop Dyeing with Mushrooms, Day two results.

we did the greys, blues and reds and the light yellow in the lower left. I opted out of the beige that comes from the abundant native mushroom Aardappelbovist (Scleroderma citrinum)

Lots of drab, smurrie and sludge again:

Sorry, very tired. Two night with 5 hours of sleep total. Talk staccato, mkay?

Sitting now with colours all around me. Thinking stranded projects, shapes, combinations.
Knitsonik is very much on my mind.

Also this book: Poetry in Stitches. Old. 1997. Wish I had it. Very much so. De Schapekop had one in Norwegian, I was delighted ūüôā Looking for one like this for me: Dikt i masker.

Rukt i Masker Poetry in Stitches boek Solveig
Solveig takes heartfelt landscapes, historic textiles and cultural identities and translates them into stranded patterns.

Rukt i Masker Poetry in Stitches boek SolveigRukt i Masker Poetry in Stitches boek Solveig

Want too. This way of designing. Dutch things.

Thinking about these:

Puttertje by Carel Fabritius uit 1654:

Dutch tiles. Art nouveau. Snowdrops. (these are lilies, couldn’t find snowdrops. Don’t like lilies):

Winter almost gonepic by Atze Dijkstra

There are tiles on many buildings in my city and other cities I hold dear. There are also typical Dutch tiles in my house, behind the fire place. Won’t do blue and white though.

Would love to do a “pimpelmees” but don’t have the right blues. Another time, little friend:

Dutch traditional clothes. Colourful. Practical.
from Marken:
marken vrouw pic by Gwen the Monster
from Volendam (wouldn’t do Volendam though, it’s too iconical):
2011 Markenpic by Jose Gonzalvo Vivas
from Friesland:
pic by Theun
Nice colours.

For now I’m thinking light coloured vest with snowdrops, wrens and the checkered pattern of the “Kievitsbloem”. All early spring, end of winter symbols. Art Nouveau shapes. First time steeking.

Another project to use the warm yellows, the ochres, with the steel blue I bought to go with it. Perhaps wristwarmers, not a vest.

Another with the colours of the painting Puttertje. Those are the ones we dyed yesterday: the red, the blues, the greys both warm and cool. They don’t flatter the colours of my face but they are beautiful.

I wouldn’t depict the bird itself. I would only use its colours. Or it’s essential shape or combinations. It’s face mask for example. The streak on its wings. I found another painting, using the same colours as the Puttertje:

It’s not Dutch though, it’s French:¬†Fleur de lande by Jacques Wely. “Flower of the land.” But I think it’s a Dutch girl. It’s from the Art Nouveau era.

I want one vest finished half way May, when there’s a Knitting and Crochet festival in the old town nearby De Schapekop and the mushroom instructor will be there again.

But first: rest rest rest. Got nice things to watch on the inside of my eyelids though. Knitwear designer things. ūüôā

Workshop Mushroom Dyeing Day 1

Results of day 1, made with two species of mushrooms:

The one that dyes yellow was then modified¬†with iron and gave the greens (“modifying” is fancy for “add a bunch of rusty nails”).

The colours are so¬†beautiful! The whole workshop is fantastic. It’s really relaxed yet well organized. There’s no rush but everything gets done. The instructor has soooo much knowledge. He’s name is Chiel Noordeloos and he was a mushroom professor at the University of Leiden. Now he’s retired. On thursday he’s off to Oslo to give two lectures on mushroom dyeing. In Norwegian! I told him I speak Norwegian too, on account of having spent six months in Bergen. He said: “But then you won’t speak Norwegian, you speak Bergensk.” He’s so right haha!

He brought lots of examples, both of mushrooms and of dyed skeins and of knitted items. Lots of books too. It was wonderful.

The location is at woolstudio De Schapekop (The Sheepshead) which is also wonderful. Very hospitable. We are taken care off really well.

Here are some pictures:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

De Schapekop is a wonderful place. I’m not even showing you half of it:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

There was time to explore and to knit while doing so:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.
First course of a wonderful lunch.

Examples Chiel brought with him:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Some of the books:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.
Heehee, mushrooms are called “svamp” in Swedish.

Knitted clothing all dyed with swamps:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Look, he buys some of his dried mushrooms at Riihivilla in Finland:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.
I don’t know which colour these give. Mushrooms are plenty in Finland, not so much in the Netherlands. Love Riihivilla. Leena keeps a blog about natural dyeing, it features mushrooms too. I recognize the smell of the purple dyes from a mitten kit I knitted.

In the afternoon we dyed purples and greens. This purple mushroom is toxic and it needs it’s pH value monitored to give purple:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Adding iron to the dyebath before dunking in the skeins:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Then dipping various skeins for various periods of time. It’s how I got the lighter colours. I was the only one doing that, the workshop provides three colourways for green. The first, most intense one pictured here and two lighter ones. I put in two additional skeins, the last one only for a couple of seconds. They are bottom right. As soon as it had the colour I wanted I took it out and rinsed it:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.
I used two skeins I’m supposed to use tomorrow. This means I won’t be dyeing all the colours tomorrow. That’s ok, I don’t mind skipping out on corals or light oranges. We’ll see.

Results of today are drying. Wool for tomorrow is already sorted. We’ll dye¬†greys, brown, blues and reds.
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

It’s wonderful to be able to participate a whole day. I’m not even that tired. How far I’ve come ūüôā

On the way back the landscape inspired me to think about colours and stranded knitting:
wol verven met paddestoelen olv Chiel Noordeloos bij wolstudio De Schapekop. Dyeing Wool with mushrooms.

Ugh@ blue green.

Today I’m dyeing part of the Swifter fleece. Later on I will card the coloured bits together with the white an spin for a light coloured, interesting pullover:

Ai.

Although these are lovely elfish colours they are way too mintblue coloured for my taste. ¬†I don’t want any more green-blue yarns at the moment. I don’t want to spin it, I don’t want to knit it and I don’t want to wear it.

There’s too much¬†green-blue, mint blue, turquoise, see foam, mint green, teal, cyan, aqua, kingfisher, eye searing smurf and blue-green in my knitter life¬†for way too long now.

Back in it goes. Add yellow and dirty reds:

What’s this? Autumn colours? When am I going to wear a bright green with orange and brown patches sweater??

(On the top left I kept a bit of the first dye bath that wasn’t too blue/green.)

I don’t know what to do now. I guess I could chuck it into the dye pot again. But I’m not sure that’s wise. Today is pretty consistent in showing¬†that I fail at¬†dyeing with a goal in mind.

Because, believe it or not, both times I was sure I was dyeing this colour:

Absolutely dead sure.

I guess I could use the brown parts and some of the green parts… But will it ever be “Tranquil Winter Birch”?

I’m so unsure that I’ll spin for a bit to get calm and zen and relaxed again. Grabbed some lovely silk:

Why???

playing with blue: Petrie Shell and indigo plant

With Trees Cowl and sock cuffs done I was in need of a new mindless knitting project. The other projects all require my brain: there are sleeves to be started. Short rows. Gauge. Attention needed.

But not good old Petrie Shell in linen that I had swatched for. Just cast on and follow the pattern:

This is where I started to have doubts. This felt pretty tight. 40 cm? That’s 80 cm in the round. I’m more of a 90 cm hip kinda girl.
The little swatch from my little video-blog had shown it would grow smaller even, from 17 st/10 cm to 20 st/10 cm. But then, linen stretches with wear so perhaps I’d be alright anyway…
After worrying and knitting and worrying and knitting for a while I put this part on a life line and washed it, to see what would happen. Gauge was already 21 st/10 cm unblocked!

As it turned out, nothing happend with the gauge after blocking. It stayed at 21 st/10 cm, which is about the gauge of the pattern.
So I’m happy knitting along until this tube hits my widest part (hint: “my eyes are up here”) and then I’ll put in that distinctive shaping that’s part of this pattern.

In the mean time I’m tinkering about in the garden, helped by a couple of friends. We’ve cleared some brambles and unruly raspberries (who fruits raspberries in November?! Unruly!) and I finally have one of my favourite flowers growing right outside my window, the daisy. This is the Cow’s Eye Daisy I think? We call it Farmers’ Margareta (“boerenmargriet”). I love all species of Daisies with simple white petals and a yellow heart. I’m very happy.
And I’ve got six indigo plants:

They’re not very big yet, after all they do grow in the middle of the forest, but they have responded nicely to my planting skills, manure and encouragement.
Indigo is a special dye for both animal fibre (wool, silk) and plant fibre (cotton, linen). It does not require a mordant to attach to the fibres and it is light fast. This is unlike the majority of the plants for dyeing. You always hear people talking about alum and cream of tartar (CoT) and cooking times and how the colours fade.
Not for indigo.

Indigo has its own challenges though. It will not release it’s dye like most plants (just chop ’em and cook ’em). And once you get it to release its dye it won’t attach to fibre. If you do manage to get the colour to attach to the fibre your fibre will be green, not blue.
Then you have to expose it to oxygen and only then will the green turn blue, the magical indigo blue.

You need special skills and stuffs to make this work. High temperature and quick cooling but not too cool. Stale urine. Fermentation. Under water acrobatics. Hydrosyphilis Chemicalicus. Special gloves. Outdoor cooking gear. Japanese skills.

That’s too much for me. My brain is already occupied with knitting sleeves. I need easy dyeing.
There is an easy way of indigo dyeing. You can release its dye by chopping the leaves in a blender filled with icewater. Then you use vinegar to attach it to fibre (best results with silk) but you only get a (pale) turkoize. (I don’t like turkoize much)

There most be another way. If it’s a question of breaking the plant cells to get the chlorofyl out then brute force would release the dye, I’d think. Brute force would also drive the dye into fibres. I’d think.
Have hammer, will pound.

I took a leaf and folded it into a piece of paper and took a hammer to it.
It was bright green! lighter than this. Then I put it in the sun and you could see it turn darker, bluer. Magic!

With a sturdy fabric you could leaf print indigo leafs, I’d think. Linen, hemp, canvas. I wonder if it’s light fast. If it’d turn more blue. If it’s attached to the fabric properly.
I feel very much like experimenting. But I think I’ll leave the indigo plants to mature a little while more, I feel they don’t have seen the sun enough yet to have made indigo dye in abundance.

I’m waiting patiently, knitting with dark blue linen and enjoying daisies:

Dying for colour

I’ve been dyeing fleeces for the last few days.

It all started with washing fleeces and once that wool is wet and you’re using your centrifuge… it’s a small step to add some colour.


3

 

I’m purposely dyeing not full saturated colours. The blue is Landscape Dye Apollo Bay, on fine Shetland in various colours. The green is the same blue dye mixed with some Ashford (lemon) yellow. It’s on a not-so-fine Dutch breed, probably Texelaar.

The orange is Jacquard Dye, in a premixed colour from Stof tot verven. It’s on my spotted organic sheep. It’s also a non-felting fleece. Mix of Hollands Bont and Jacobsheep.

2

Blocking: the sweaterdress/pinafore

My friend knitted the dress according to the pattern I wrote and send it back to me.
Today I wanted to block it -I have a stand alone centrifuge at the cabin, it’s perfect for bigger projects- and take pictures of it.

But it was not a case of: make wet, centrifuge and block.
I’ve spend all day washing it ūüė¶
The dye kept on bleeding. Turqoise does so, it is a colour notorious for it.

All day long I had to dance: soak one hour, rinse the dress. Soak another hour, rinse the dress again.
After the 7th soak I remembered to take a picture for you. *I’m slow when frustration builds*
The water still wasn’t clear in that 7th rinse but I’m so done.
My nerves are gnawed to the core now, I want this dress dry. I want to wear it and I want to show pictures. To you. To my friend who knitted it.

So ready or not, it is now blocking on the veranda, with an ingenious construction involving clothespins and a bottle of water and more clothespins (I love clothes pins, I use them for everything.)

Night is falling, I’m an hour past my bed time.
I don’t like to keep wool out of doors at night, there are butterflies here which love wool. They are called “Home mothers” in Dutch. No idea why!

I once kept a fleece out on the veranda and next morning there were a lot of house mothers sitting on it.
This caused some confusion on Ravelry. People imagining local mothers roaming around these farmer’ lands, finding my fleece and camping out on it. Picknicking.

It’s Noctua Pronuba when it uses its fancy name and drinks wine. There “Noctua” in its name. Something to do with “night”?
(I;m so tired I’m rambling)
In Englis it’s called the Large Yellow Underwing. Very practical naming. You get what you see.

There are moths here too.

But I’m making an exception.
I’ve waited all day for this dress. And I am done. Done rinsing. Done waiting. Done with turqoise. Starting to hate that colours.
I want this dress. I want to show you proper pictures tomorrow. They have to be taken in the morning because I’m leaving at noon. So this dress has to stay outdoors tonight. Come house mothers or moths or damp air. I’m wearing it tomorrow! (unless I have a lie in)

I’m done rambling now. Here are the pictures of the last rinse and my blocking genius. Sorry if I omitted night goggles on my iPad. There should be an app for that. Probably is.

Good night! Don’t let any mothers sit on you. (unless you’re married to her. In which case you should not let your children read this.)




Dyeing green

I dyed some fleece today. I’m always so surprised it turns out half decent!

I dyed multi colours on purpose, to make for a lively yarn.

It’s the Hampshire down fleece I scoured last September. I want to make it into rolags with my handcarders and spin it Longdraw.
The fleece had some dark hairs in it and I didn’t want those to tarnish the white, so I dyed it. Green!

When the fleece was just washed. It still had a bit of lanolin in it:

After scouring (= washing really really hot. Lanolin melts.)

I used Jacquard Dyes in a colourway designed by stoftotverven.nl called Veenmos. It’s a yellowish green. This acid dye only takes 2 grams to dye 100 grams of fleece. I forgot to weigh the fleece…
So I just sprinkled a bit… and it turned way too dark! This always happens with me.

So I’m always forced to dump in extra wool and things to soak up some of the colours.
With the Southdown are swimming in this dyepot:
– socks I wanted to overdye
– felted mittens I want to give a colour
– silk that hadn’t had its colour set properly.

here’s the silk:

Here’s a mitten:

I left the top of the hand and the thumb sticking out, hoping there will be a colour gradient.

The socks are at the bottom of the dye pot, I want them to dye quite evenly. They are my Lingerie Socks.
A nice pattern but a bit overwhelmed with the yarn, especially the right foot:

Which is a pity because I LOVE the colour on the left foot. This colourway was called Hedgehogs’ nest, by Chasing Clouds
I loved it but I was not wearing the socks. So in they went.