Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Natural Dyeing With Lupines
I've loved lupines forever. Here in New Brunswick Canada they grow in a wide verity of colours. So guess what I did! You got it, I picked some for my dye pot!
Ever try to find information online about how to dye wool with lupines? Very scarce. I did find some info about dyeing with them in Iceland, but no recipes. Grrr. Very frustrating as a new natural dyer. I have about four natural dyeing books and no mention of them in there. Rats! So, I decided to wing it.
I picked a HUGE amount of lupines, as in an "oh my gosh, I'm dropping some" armful. They literally covered the backseat. My husband's car never smelt so good! Once home, I went into the utility room and started "shucking" the blossoms off the stalks. A whole 1400g of blossoms! The dyepot was almost to bursting! Notice the colour that transferred to my skin.
So, with just enough water to cover the blossoms, I let them come to a gentle boil then reduced to simmer for a couple of hours. I let them cool overnight in the water, hoping to get the maximum amount of colour out of them. Not sure if that was what to do, but hey, couldn't hurt, could it? Then I used a stainless steel sieve to scoop out the veggie matter because the pot was simply too heavy to pick up! The colour of the water was a pretty red colour. Fingers crossed that it transfers to the wool!
Today, I mordanted 568g of sock wool, which is 75% superwash and 25% nylon. I used 8% alum and 7% cream of tartar. After the bath cooled down and was done, I rinsed the yarn thoroughly and put it in my cool lupine dye. What did I see? Red wool? Nope. (Grrr) This kind of blueish green. As per one of my dye books, I brought it to an almost boil and let it simmer for a couple of hours, stirring very carefully every once in a while. The plan is to let it sit in the cooling dye bath overnight and see what happens...
ETA: Here is the lupine blossom skeins... What do you think? I kinda like them, but they are not very exciting. Sort of a dove blue/grey.