Monday, November 02, 2009

Of cabbages and kings

Or cabbages and Queens
And how in the Bronx,
To dye up wooly things.

Yesterday (sans camera!) I headed off to Wave Hill and entered an aromatic hall of the main house and joined Robyn Love in her class on natural dying.

She had indigo (a nature powered dye, not the home fermented.) and onion skin, and tea and black walnuts pots going.

For me –she put out a red cabbage ‘soup’ –99.9% of the cabbage had been strained out.

The red cabbage yielded a purple sort of color.. (It was so lovely in the pot!)

Alum intensified the color.. . but alas, alack, a good rinse and some time in a vinegar bath (to set the color) and most of it has faded--and what I have is a soft pale rose.. (a cabbage rose!) I might end up overdying some of it.. it's a bit too pale for my tastes.

And my hands smell of vinegar and cabbage—(even after several washing!) as does the wool!

My adventures with home dyes have tended to involve easter egg dye, or kool ade, or commercial stuff.. and I've never worked with real mordants, just vinegar as a fixative. It was very interesting to see the different effects of the mordants on the colors --Onion skins turned wool gold, or marigold(deep orangy gold) or mustard depending on the mordant!

The was a real learning experience for me!
The best color was the black walnuts that resulted in a rich warm brown.
An absolutely beautiful color! (and it smelled a lot nicer than cabbages!)

All this to distract you.. No, I didn’t finish Penny for Your Thoughts.. (the hem/bind off is half done) and no I didn’t start back on Peachy—and yes, I did start yet another pair of socks. Paton’s Fx –in the copper colorway..

I want to race throught these and get to work on… (so many ideas)!

Of cabbages and kings, is from (of course!)


teabird said...

No camera? I'm sad.

Robyn said...

so sorry the cabbage all washed away! what will you over dye with?