Nothing like a grey day to put you in the mood to talk about Logwood.
Logwood is a tropical tree, the bark of which produces a blue/purple/grey dye. As I am still learning about sources for my dyestuffs, I used the Earthues Logwood-Grey for my first logwood dyeing project. I have since learned that I can get responsibly gathered logwood chips through Aurora Silk so that will be my next source. I want to achieve the purple and blue tones from this wood that I did not really get this time.
On a dyeing day the stovetop is covered in steel pots.
I used 2 teaspoons of logwood extract to dye 7 ounces of wool – it was way too much. The next time I will use half that amount. The yarn was 100% merino wool, fingering weight. I dissolved the logwood in a metal cup using first tepid and then boiling water and added it to my dyepot. Then I added my mordanted wool (alum and cream of tartar) to the pot. It looked black.
Hmmm. Was it supposed to look like that? Maybe it would lighten up as it dried. I was thinking I would end up with a charcoal grey, which is what I was expecting.
I heated the yarn in the dye pot for 60 minutes at about 180 degrees. That is just my fallback time and temp. While with lighter colors I will let it sit overnight to soak up all the color it can from the dye pot, I did not see a reason to do that with the logwood. It was already so dark. So after the first batch had cooled down in the pot, I threw another 3.5 ounce skein into the pot after I had dyed the first round to see what I would get from the exhaust. I started rinsing the first batch.
This dye forced me to turn to my Ravelry groups to learn how to rinse wool in the dyeing process because after days and days of rinsing, I could not get all of the dye to rinse out of this wool. I have since found out that Logwood is one of the hardest tones to exhaust – both in the dye pot and in the rinsing process. Next time I will allow the yarn to dry, cure for a couple of weeks and then start rinsing it. I will let you know if it works. I also read that I should double my mordant amount when mordanting wool for logwood – from 10% to 20-25% of weight. I would think that is because more mordant needs to be present to hold this dye to the wool. I didn’t know this when I was dyeing this first round – but I am learning.
So while both the first and second batches of heated logwood were rinsing, I threw a third skein into the pot to try to cold soak dye. There was obviously still alot of dye in the pot but I did not want more of the same (grey is not that big a color in my yarn life) so I hoped that I would get something different if I did not heat the wool. I left it in the pot for two days.
Here is the third skein in the dye pot.
You can kind of see the blue hues when the flash hits the yarn.
The Logwood has not been skeined yet because I am going to rinse it one more time to see if anymore dye comes out because it has now cured for a couple of weeks. Here is what we have at this point – and I am not expecting any change in color as it has stayed pretty consistent throughout the rinsing process.
The one on the left is the first heated bath, the one on the right is the second heated bath and the one in the center is the coldwater dyebath.
The lighting made these look much lighter than they actually are. The first batch actually turned out fairly charcoal grey.
There was still dye left in the pot which I did not keep because I was getting pretty discouraged by the rinsing process at that point. I wish now I had kept it to see if it would start exhausting the blue tones into the dye more. Next time. I am also going to try dipping my lighter toned yarns into the logwood pots briefly to see if I can get a glazing effect or if it will just change the overall color of the yarn.
Next week I will show you what happened when I mixed the weld with a little bit of logwood. Now I have to get back to my pot of marigolds that are boiling for today’s dye experiment. Back to work. 🙂