Yarn canning, that is! I’m using Kilner jars for various stages in some yarn dyeing experiments using natural dyes. This is something I’ve never done before, but I’ve been meaning to do for *ages*. Seriously ages – and then, the Online Guild had a workshop on natural dyeing in June, which I all but missed1, and I’ve just about gotten around to it now.
- Day-lily with no additions
- Elder leaf with no additions
- Elder leaf with added iron (after simmering)
- Cherry laurel berries with added vinegar
- Cherry laurel berries without vinegar
The day lily I think will fail; I might get a very soft peachy colour out of it, but I have no idea if it will be fast or not, and it will not be very much darker than the original yarn. I’m not bothered; this was pure experiment and the yarn can always be dyed again.
The elder leaf batches are the only ones which have actually been simmered in the dye bath. Both were dyed in the same bath and, once cooled, transfered to the jars to keep for a while. In the third jar, I added the iron to the dye liquor and dissolved it, then added the yarn to the pot. The colour change from yellow to green was very impressive, and immediate.
I decided to experiment with the cherry laurel berries after the daft dog tried to eat one (they’re poisonous), and in retrieving it, it left a wonderful red stain on my fingers that turned to blue. The leaves and the berries of this plant contain cyanide, so I am unwilling to simmer them indoors. I just crushed the berries (with my hands, wearing gloves) and poured boiling water over them and left them. When I opened the jar again today, there was a very noticeable (and worryingly delicious) almond smell, so I think my caution is worthwhile. When dyeing with berries, vinegar is supposed to accentuate the ‘red’ tones and minimise the ‘blue’. In this photo, the blue/red balance appears to be the other way around, but it is definitely noticeable that the dye take-up is much, much greater in the bath with the vinegar added. If I can rig up an outdoor heating area in the next week or so, I will give both of these batches a proper simmer for maximum dye extraction/transfer.
I think I have some very colourful socks on the horizon. But not poisonous. I hope.
1 I did get around to doing a *little* dyeing for the June workshop, though mostly in July. I must blog about that sometime. It was very smelly.