We saw what you can get with weld and we saw what you can get with logwood. So what happens if you mix them together? Hmmmm. It was worth an experiment.
Lets start with where the magic happens.
I definitely need a bigger kitchen.
I started with blending the ingredients. I was working with the Earthhues line of powdered extracts (yes, I know it is cheating, but I am just starting in the middle of winter and it takes a bit of time to get your plants growing and to find sources and to learn the process and . . . . well, you get it). The logwood is on the left and the weld is on the right.
Now logwood is a very strong color – a little goes a long way – and weld is very expensive, retailing at $36 an ounce through Earthues, so I was pretty cautious in this experiment. I mixed 1/3 teaspoon of logwood with 1/2 ounce of weld.
I followed the usual directions for preparing the dye for Earthues – first blend in tepid water and then dissolve the rest of the way in boiling water and then add to the dyepot. I used alum and cream of tartar mordanted 100% merino wool in a fingering weight – two skeins weighing approximately 3.5 ounces each, and placed them in the dyepot while still wet at around 120 degrees and slowly – over about 45 minutes – raised the temperature in the pot to around 180 – 200 degrees. This batch, for some reason, was difficult to keep at temperature for the next 60 minutes so it spent alot longer time in the pot as it seemed to want to stay at 150 degrees. Stubborn dye pot. I kept it over the heat until I got a solid 30 minutes at 180 degrees.
As you can see – logwood plus weld equals green.
I was pleased with this color in they dyepot. I washed it in Eucalan, rinsed it and put another skein in the same dyepot to see what we could get from the first exhaust pot. For this skein I again heated the yarn to 180 degrees – with a little more success at maintaining temp – and then left it in the dye pot overnight. After removing that skein from the dyepot, it looked like there might be enough dye left for one more exhaust pot, so in went the fourth skein. This skein was soaked in the pot – no heat applied – and was left there for several days (three I think). The resulting colors were this.
The yellow tones of the weld are definitely more pronounced in the exhaust bath skeins though if you hold them next to the actual weld dyed yarns you see that these are definitely greener in hue. The first dye pot is a definite dark yellow-green. Over time, the yellow tones in this yarn seem to have become more obvious.
I am happy with this color, but considering the cost of the weld, I don’t think this would be my go to source for green. I want to see what other plant sources I can work with to get a good green. Surprisingly, it is not easy to find good natural sources for green and most dyers do a blend of indigo or woad and weld. I love my poinsettia green – which is doing well in my ongoing lightfastness testing – so that holds promise. I hear rumors of obtaining a good green using lily of the valley, but am not sure I want to go that route. I love my lily of the valley at the house.
So tomorrow is Imbolc – Candlemas – Ground Hog’s Day. The celebration of the quickening of the Earth. (Quickening refers to the period when a woman is pregnant and -around 4 months into the pregnancy – first feels her child start to kick and move in the womb). Now is when the life that is under the surface of the ground starts to stir. It is traditionally the time when gardens were planted – or planned in the Northeast – so tomorrow I will sit with my books and seed catalogs and web pages and seriously get this dye garden going.
Happy Imbolc everyone. Let the dye garden begin!!