Grackle & Sun

At the Burrow DyeTable # 2: Long, Long Pot of Poke

My friend Laura came over to share in the fun of this dyepot.  I figured, while it’s still giving, might as well keep sharing.  She opted to bring some superwash skeins, which is cool, because I was curious how they’d take up the dye.   For the second exhaust bath, I opted to follow the exact same procedure as in the first dyebath with one exception:  After the 2 hour simmer, I left the skeins in the dyebath—for 2 days.   I thought it might help with fastness since the amount of dye in the pot is lessening with each exhaust.  During this time, the weather went from 80-some degrees to 30-some degrees!  Way to go, crazyass Missouri weather.  Pulling those skeins out of the dyebath was cold!  I let them hang out in the chilly air for several hours, and then I brought them inside to rinse.  For all of these pokeberry dyepots, I rinsed in a bucket of water with a dash of vinegar because my water is alkaline at pH 8.8, and I was afraid of that effecting the colour.  No soap or even Soak or Eucalan.  Rinsed until the water ran clear (or I ran out of patience).

Here are the results from the second exhaust bath (which is the third overall use of this dyepot):  Notice how much darker the two skeins on the left are.  They are both superwash.  The third skein over is a mohair boucle, and the rightermost (yeah, i just said that) is more Mountain Meadows Cody wool.  That boucle’s got some shine on it.  On a technical note, it’s really hard to photograph these colours accurately.  I’ve tried to get them as true as possible, but it took some doing.

And here is the line-up of all the pokeberry dyepot results so far.  From left to right you have:  Original dyepot, 1st exhaust, 2nd exhaust superwash, and 2nd exhaust wool.

I think that it’s interesting that we’ve moved from plums and raspberries to peachy-salmon tones.  I expected the colours to stay more in the same colour family and to just get lighter and lighter.  I did not expect it to jump to a totally different hue.  Now I’m wondering what I’ll do with them.  Oh, no!  I’ve got to look at patterns!  Lolz.  I’ve got to prepare for a kid’s class that I’m teaching on Wednesday, and I need my pot back.  But I’m tempted to do just one more before I let this one go.  We’ll see.  Until then,

Live happy, dye happy!

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6 thoughts on “At the Burrow DyeTable # 2: Long, Long Pot of Poke

  1. I’ve noticed in both synthetic and plant dyeing, that often the yellow takes longer to strike than the red, leaving the bath more and more yellow if you use several dips. Most of the red goes to the first yarn. This happens with coreopsis tinctoria for instance.

    • Ah! This is interesting. I was talking to Laura today about how surprised I was that each dyebath was not only lighter, but a different tone entirely. I figured that it meant one of two things: 1) that different compounds (ie, colours) uptake at different rates or stages in the process or 2) that some element of the original compound changed over the course of several days being reheated and such. Sounds like it’s number 1 at play.

      Any idea why the superwash takes the colours so much stronger? I noticed this in every dyebath for Dye Day #1. It’s not always a good thing. The superwash didn’t only take more colour, it seemed to take more of whatever turns a colour toward brown. This was especially evident in the eucalyptus and onion dyebaths. All the regular wools took orange or golden yellow, respectively, but the superwash went into the brown range on both. If one were trying to get consistent results or specific colours, superwash and regular wools would have to be dyed separately and the dye ratios adjusted according to the uptake.

      • It’s well known with acid dyeing as well, that superwash takes more dye. I think the consensus is that it’s because of the surface treatment to the wool.

      • grackleandsun on said:

        I wonder why that is though. I’ve heard that there are two types of superwash—one that’s been made by descaling the wool with acid, and one that’s been made by coating the wool in some type of polymer. Do they both take up colour the same way?

  2. gabrielle mack on said:

    How much vinegar do you use to prepare the original pokeberry dyebath?

    • Here’s what I wrote about the dyebath:

      ‘The berry bag, and the residual vinegar from the preserving (about 3 cups), was added to a large stockpot full of water. We added a bit more vinegar to lower the pH to 3.7. Burgess says a pH of 3.5 is good for the dyebath, but we couldn’t get the pH to budge despite adding 2 more cups of vinegar. So we called it good.’

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