Dumping the science projects

For a while I’ve been recording facts about each yarn I’ve plant dyed, I’ve made solar and indirect light exposure tests (more about that when I have the energy to make a list), the pH values, the modifiers.

Well, I felt it was time to lose that for a while.

Firstly, I wanted to weave a blanket with my earliest yarns (before I switched to another type that would not fit in the same project). When assessing the little bundles, I had a handful which were simply too dull for me, for this project, so I decided they were due for overdyeing, even if I have to unwind them all again.

mucky fawn looking almost kinda cool after photoshop….

When I do that, overdye, I know I’m going to lose the labels. Yes, I could make knotted threads to identify each, but the way things have been going for me, it just seemed like too much fuss. I’m tired and I’ll just take what I get – or keep muddling until it makes me happy.

Secondly the little collection of yellow hanks I’d put aside for woad = greens did not take any colour. So while they were soaked anyway, I got out some jars, plopped a different dried plant into each and topped with boiling water, steeped a little, one skein each. Left for the next day. And one undyed btw for the safflowers I grew and dried 3 years ago but never tried! Which landed me with a new yellow, but whatever…

The other jars contained madder, cochineal, dried walnut shells (left out of the photo because I need to go look up the proper procedure), red onion skins, black hollyhock.


Easy peasy dyeing, 6 pots at once and no temperature worries, nice un-yellow variation. I’m going to do the same with my blanket yarns. Although as I was winding quills with my more colourful yarns, I couldn’t help wonder what my muted skeins would look like in a project with for instance slate or white!


I may even mix plants in the jar next time round. And to complete the amateurish approach, I did not take any before shots of my test skeins. But at least I did something.

15 thoughts on “Dumping the science projects

  1. I love the colors you got with the over dyeing!
    I am notorious for NOT keeping track of my dyeing projects. One summer I finally kept samples and labels with information (last summer)….. it lasted most of the summer. But I haven’t done it since.
    Why? Partially because I am a ‘slap dash’ sort of person. Partially because I don’t intentionally want to recreate a color…… I sort of like the mystery of what will happen with each batch. I would make a very poor scientist šŸ˜‰

    1. I’ve enjoyed it but it’s also a tiring process. As with the colourwheel in painting, once you know the basics you just work off hunches more than anything, I don’t remember exactly which blue and which yellow gives a specific green, but it’s somewhere in there anyway when I make my pick/guess.

      I pretty much got what I expected from this overdye, but was pleasantly surprised just how nice the hollyhock green was. If they had turned out differently I’d have been happy too.

      Matching the exact same shade each time is also no concern, if I wanted a large batch the same I would dye them in one session. What has concerned me the most is finding out which dyes change in light or wash.

      1. That is what my main concern is….. color fastness, especially when I’m selling something. I want to be able to assure the customer that the article (finished piece or yarn) is ‘fast’.

  2. The colours look great, but there is always a use for beige/earthy colours. I’m not into dying, but if I was I’m not sure I could be so organised as to record every detail, though I am sure this is the best way if you want to be able to repeat the results!!!!!

    1. I’m not looking to repeat exactly, just obtain a knowledge of what can be done. Which plants react to what and their colour spectrums. Beyond that I get bored, and frankly it’s been a tiring process. I think I’m at a point where I know enough to work intuitively and also which processes I CAN’T be bothered repeating.

Add a comment: