Thursday, July 17, 2008

Onions....they're not just for yellow anymore

I've been told for years that dyeing with onions skins would produce, well, just more yellow, so i never did it. But last night out of sheer boredom i peeled some onions and tried it...NOT YELLOW!

I mordanted with alum and cream of tartar and...

Orange! Yes indeedy...a lovely orange. This was the first soak for about 20 minutes i think.

Second soak...a bit lighter...

Third soak overnight, we're getting somewhere close to yellow.Still much more gold than yellow.... I have one last bunch from a second cooking of the onion skins... i'll post pictures tomorrow!

here are all three...

Coreopsis and stuff

Last evening i decided I had enough coreopsis saved to try a bit of dyeing. I did not have much but i was in need of stuff to do. I'm guessing there was a total of 30 small flowers was all. So...almost as soon as I started boiling them, the water turned really bright red!!!!
Yay! I decided to try dyeing some without adding ammonia, which one of my books says will make the color more red. In the past adding ammonia has made a lovely orange but nothing even close to red. Since i had such a tiny amount of dye stuffs i put in a small amount of silk. Just 5 grams. AND

WOW! RED! or at least very dark orange. When this was done i tried adding some ammonia, which did not make the dye more red at all. it made it more orange. I stupidly then thought maybe i'd add some vinegar and it'd go back to what it was...but it didn't. OOPS!

So here's what i got. On the right is the first soak, then after i added ammonia/vinegar, then i reboiled the flowers for a much weaker bath.

This morning while out trimming apple suckers i saw this little lady and couldn't resist taking a picture.
Upcoming--onion skins. They're not just for yellow anymore!

Friday, July 04, 2008

I'm Lichen Dyeing

and i'm liken it too...

FIRST: a comment on collecting lichen. Do not collect it in National Parks or State Parks. It's illegal. When you do collect it in a legal place, do not ever collect more than 10% from any given spot. Lichen grows very slowly, and if you collect more than this you may permanently damage the ecosystem. If you are particularly interested in collecting lichen that dyes purple, which contains orchil, take a long a small jar of household bleach and Qtips. After scraping the top off of the lichen, if you dab bleach on it and it turns, red/ have orchil containing lichens.

I have yet to find orchil lichens but i'm collecting what i find, because well, i'm obsessed with natural dyeing and lichens are the newest thing for me...

anyway, so i have a variety of jars on my back porch (which gets extremely warm in the afternoon sun) filled with lichen soaking in ammonia and water. I haven't actually tried dyeing any silk yet...soon, i hope, soon. I understand that they need to sit for weeks and weeks. I'm not very patient, but i am seeing some color already, which is exciting!
This is the first jar, i started a couple weeks ago. It first turned somewhat orange-y brown, then got darker and darker and darker. Today, i diluted the dye by half and am still completely unable to see what color it is...either extremely dark brown or maybe almost black.

These two i collected last weekend, near Badland National Park...not in that would be illegal. the one on the right is from bright orange lichen growing on rocks, the left is green lichen that grows on cedar trees.

(if you click on the picture you can see it much bigger and see colors better)
Today, we went out to a campground in the Black Hills, outside the National Forest, and behind the campground was a big hill and ton of different kinds of lichen... from left to right--
1. some moss that was growing between rocks
2. greyish green lichen that grew on boulders
3. greyish purple flat with occasional spots of black on boulders
4. orange lichen on oak trees
5. neon green lichen from boulders
6. dark brown on boulders
7. orange on boulders

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Badlands Wander

Last Saturday my family and I wandered through Badland National Park... taking pictures and hiking...

The Haystack Mounds (these yellow and red striped mounds are my very favorite part of the Badlands...normally the Badlands are very dry, so the green is quite unexpected.

The prickly pear cactus are blooming insane amounts this i grabbed a few pics of those too.

This lovely little guy has the auspicious name of Gumbo Lily...much prettier than it sounds!

These rounded tops and sides are what give the Haystack Mounds their names.

I was enthralled with the watercolor like valley here...I've never seen colors like this in the badlands before.

The yucca are also in full bloom

with all the rain the striations are more visible than usual.

my little guy said he was airbending...with gusts of 60 MPH was exciting.

my 14-year-old was loving the climbing at the end here...

and my 6-year-old had to follow suit.

Here's all three of my wonderful kids...
It was beautiful and wonderful...and new Badlands Yarn is around the corner....