At the Burrow DyeTable # Two: Harvest Moon Dyeing
When better to dye with the bounty of a late summer harvest than under the harvest moon? Saturday night I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning dyeing more yarn in the first exhaust of the pokeberry dyebath. Ronin and the full moon kept me company. We’re going to see just how much colour we can get out of this pot.
All of the dye notes for this first bath are identical in method to the first pokeberry dyebath. The only notable exceptions are the following:
Yarn: I used both Paradise Fibers 4-ply undyed wool and Mountain Meadow Cody. Both were mordanted in vinegar as before, only this time because I was dyeing 250g fiber, I used 1.5 c. of distilled white vinegar.
Ratio of dyestuff to fiber: I left the dyepot exactly as it was the night before, which means that it still had the 2800g pantyhose bag of pokeberries in it. At this weight of fiber, our ratio is now only roughly 11:1, and that does not take into account that it is an exhaust bath which means a substantial amount of dye has already been used out of it. So the actual ratio is incalculable. By me anyway.
Dyebath: The only difference with how I did this dyebath is that I paid closer attention to how much heat I actually had to give it to keep the temperature in the 160-180F range. It was surprisingly little. I brought the temp of the dyebath up while I mordanted the yarn in the vinegar/water. Once the yarn was transferred to the dyebath, I kept a timer counting down 15 minute intervals. From 180F, with no heat on the burner, it only lost maybe 3 or 4 degrees in 15 minutes. So basically, I just fired up the campstove for 1 minute every 15 minutes to keep the temperature between 175-180F. The rest of the time it was off. This save SO MUCH propane. Once it was up to temp, I only turned the stove on for 8 minutes in 2 hours. And it allowed me to not have to worry about the pot overheating. Instead I enjoyed the quiet of 2am and knit on my EarthSea socks.
After the 2 hour dyebath, I left the skeins in the pot to cool until morning—about 6 hours—and then hung them up to dry in the shade. This time in the dyebath is about half of what the first skeins had. This was not intentional, just the way my day dictated.
Then my friends Hollie and Patrick and I went to the Strange Folk Festival to check out all the crafts. My friend E was there helping Martha with the baskets at her booth. I wish I’d had my camera with me, because her booth and the baskets and carved gourds were gorgeous. So inspiring. E and I are planning to do a hickory stool workshop with Martha in the spring when the hickory bark is ready to harvest. Am so excite! After the festival, we came back to rinse the skeins—so they were hanging for about 7 hours. They rinsed clean after only a few water changes. They are slightly but noticeably lighter than what came out of the first dyebath.
Here are skeins from the original dyebath and the first exhaust bath together so you can see the difference. We went from damson to raspberry.
I’ll be writing about the second exhaust bath in the next couple days. I’m really interested to see how the reduction of dyestuff to fiber effects fastness. I’m hoping these colours stick around for a long time. I think they’re gorgeous.
Live happy, dye happy!