It was a really good day! Open House at Solitude: natural dyeing

by Gretchen Frederick September 20, 2017

It was a really good day! Open House at Solitude: natural dyeing

A big thank you to everyone who came to our Open House on September 10th. You guys were GREAT! Kathy Reed was our roving photographer (officially Solitude Wool’s Chief Knit Knut) and she captured many of you who pitched it and picked, plucked, smooshed, stirred, strained, dipped and admired. 

Marigolds: the garden marigold flowers were found and collected, then both fresh flowers plus the blooms we’ve been collecting and drying for two years were stuffed into panty hose.

    stuffing panty hose with marigolds, dry and fresh, before stewing for dye

  

 fabulous! We will have some of these at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival this weekend...

Then the star of the day: Pokeberries!

Foragers with fortitude headed to the Pokeweed forest and brought back perfect juicy purple berry clumps. Then there was plucking, mashing, straining, and careful cooking to not let it exceed it's maximum temperature when it starts to just turn brown... the result is excellent...if only in mini skeins. Good things come in small hanks. Those of you who were such great dye assistants (and left me your email addresses!) look for an email from me next week with more photos.

  

 

  

And we dipped into a vat of indigo

Indigo works in a completely different way from other dyes. To get the indigo in a form that can attach to the fibers you must "reduce" all the oxygen out of the vat, that makes it look like a clear pale yellow. You dip the wet yarn into the vat and let it stay for 5 to 15 minutes with a little careful movement. When you pull it out of the vat and the indigo begins to oxidize, it turns blue before your eyes. If you want dark blues, you wait for the indigo to completely oxidize, then re-dip it. Sometimes as many as 10 times. We got a good start including some marigold dyed yarn to make a lovely green, and I've been working the vat all week to add some new greens to the Border Leicester sport palette. We will have them at Shenandoah, and shortly after will get them up on the website.

  

Thanks everyone! We'll do it again next year I hope!

 

 

 

 




Gretchen Frederick
Gretchen Frederick

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