Sunday, September 14, 2008


I had prepared a bunch of yarn for samples, made butterflies, loosely tied in several places to keep them from getting too tangled with the others. I took some of them and use the pre-mordant method, reading that alum enhanced many colors, I simmered the samples on the stove with about a 1/2 teaspoon of alum the night before. These can be dried and used at a later time, but I kept them in the water to use the next day. I also got the rest of the samples soaking in water with a spot of dish soap, so they would be ready to accept the dye evenly.

The night before I also simmered for almost and hour geranium flowers and geranium leaves in separate pots and let them sit over night, hoping to draw out as much color as possible. I had great hopes of getting red dye from the flowers, since the bath was so red and whenever it landed on paper, there was a red stain.

The next morning it was the geranium leaves that were tested first. I didn't expect much except maybe some green color and there wasn't much to get excited about except the sample with the alum and time did produce a very nice soft yellow.

Then it was on to the geranium flowers, would I get red? Well, no; at first I was really disappointed trying all the mordants and only getting light orangy tans, a very faded orange, a medium tan and a nice warm gray. But when you look at them all together the colors were nice together, soft and natural. I think that if I would have been using a plant fiber like cotton or raffia instead of an animal fiber like wool I may have seen the red I was hoping for.

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