Archive for May, 2009

Eucalyptus: brush it off the car (or whatever) and into the dye pot

Eucaliptis, by old rail tracks, Exposition Ave, Los Angeles

Although Eucalyptus is not native to Los Angeles there is quite a bit of it around town. In fact in some areas you will be brushing it off your car every day.

Eucaliptis leaves

Using it as a dyestuff some people have been wildly unimpressed with my results but I like the color all the same, sometimes blended with with Fennel and lawn grass dyed wool.

Bobben of dyed wool

I guess I should say that it’s possible to get nearly the same orange-rust color range with onion skins and less fuss. But if you should find youself with lots of Eucalyputs leaves, undyed wool and are wondering what to do with it…

Unspun wool dyed with Eucalyptus

 wool: yes, I got light orange to dark rusty orange. Some people get red from Eucalyptus but I have not. I don’t know if it makes a difference where the plant is grown or not.

Dye Samples

cotton and other fibers: don’t know I have only tried this with wool so far, but having seen Soy Silk sponge up any color I I’ve dropped it into I’m guessing somehting would work.

WoolDyedEuclayptus02_300

 Links with information about using Eucalyptus as a dye:

Australian plans / Cathy Vit

Silver Dollar Eucalyptus

What I tried was based on reading Ida Grae’s Nature’s Colors and the two articles I have links for above. Amounts of plant to fiber were anywhere from 4:1 to 16:1 for the darkest.

I used a mix of Silver Dollar (the small, round leaves) and the long thiner leaves. Some recipies suggest using Silver Dollar only. Leaves chopped smallish and soaked for 3–days. Brought slowly to boil and simmerd for 1 hour. (I read if you run up the heat to fast, it turns brown but I have not tested this out).

Pulled out the dye material (before any mordant, so I don’t have to dispose of contaminated dye garbage), added alum, cream-of-tartar, the alumed wool and simmered another hour. Let cool for about 24 hours – the next day after work. After this you can try any other mordants (iron, copper or tin) or afterbaths (Ammonia or Vinegar).

Woad and more Fennel (or return of the Fennel)

Woad

The surviving Woad plant from last year. It really started growing this spring and looks about ready to bloom.

If you haven’t hear the Woad Song here is at least one version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK5-F9mLp4Y

Fennel

The Oxalis has died off for the season and the Fennel is blooming. (Sorry there isn’t a Fennel song..)

 

 

 

Basil Baby Blanket(s) blocked, completed, etc

The Smith Island PatternFactory Basil Baby blanket(s). The running joke has been some variation on would I finish these blankets before the children (my nieces: E & M) go off to college. As it has turned out the ubiquitious blankets have been completed somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd birthdays.

(Sort of. The 2nd one is being blocked as I write this….)

BasilStart01 

Blanket start (above)

 BasilBlanketBlocking01 

Blanket #1 on the (Knitpicks) blocks

BasilBlanketBlockingCorner

(and a corner).

 

Various learning experiences accumulated include: how to knit from charted patterns (being a weaver and used to reading drafts that wasn’t too terrible), why the overdramatically named “life line” is so very important, how to fix mistakes, fixing a mistake that requires (holding one’s breath) dropping a few rows down (that part was terrible) and other exciting lessons.

At some point I decided to put all other projects on hold or back burner, no casting on, no weaving, etc or whatever till the blankets were complete. Better pictures will follow.