its an obsession

oh I’m well and truly addicted!

it’s a combination of things. the smells, the colour, the “australian-ness”, the naturalness of the process – its hard to describe!

April wool

colours resulting from E. maculata (Spotted Gum) and E. lehmannii (Bushy Yate) (seperate dye baths) – slightly dried leaf and twig material

no added mordants

I think I’m in trouble if hubby sees this one though….

I figured that as I wasn’t using any toxic, stinky mordants it would be okay to brew in the kitchen. What you can’t see in this image is the back door, which was wide open just in case and what you can’t smell is the beautifully fresh scent that wafted through the house doing what a spray can of “fake” smell can’t even hope to acheive!

I would like to acknowledge India Flint at this point. Prior to this batch of dyes, I had been literally “chucking” my wools into the boiling pot of eucalyptus leaves and letting them boil away for ages with no thought to what might be happening to the condition of the wool. I recently purchased India’s new book “Eco Colour” and have already read it cover to cover a number of times.

my apologies for the terrible photo….

I took a more scientific approach to this batch of dyeing – boiling the material for no more than an hour (beneficial with eucalyptus specifically), removing the leaves and twigs before adding my wool and then reducing the heat to “steaming” but not allowing the water to move while the extracted dye made it’s magic! The finished product doesn’t seem as vibrant as previous batches however I have no doubt that this is more likely to be due to the difference in leaf matter rather than anything else. I am also really looking forward to using a concentrated version of the dye to colour some bundles of cotton fabric….

(note if any one is reading this – an edition for hands on textile people that would serve as a workbook would be great….. my beautiful “coffee table” book will soon be covered in splotches and stains if I’m not careful!) This book is a wealth of information that is so beautifully and artistically compiled. I love it and am going to get hours and hours and hours of enjoyment from it. Thank you India!

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3 Responses to its an obsession

  1. I remember doing vats of wool dying in the early ‘Seventies. One night, I forgot to turn the propane off underneath the vat of stewing wool. In the middle of the night, my husband got up and found that a thick smoke was slowly descending from the ceiling of our one level house. He woke everyone up (we had a visitor) and we all got out of the house and opened up all the windows to let out the smoke and the acrid smell.
    There was a small leak in the bottom of the canning vat I was using and the water had slowly drained. All the wool on the bottom was scorched!
    It was lucky he got up;we all could have died!

    The worst things, though, make the best stories. We lived through it, all unscathed, and I’m here to tell the tale. I’m even feeling nostalgic about it!
    Just keep brewing away!

  2. india flint says:

    the difference in colour could lie in the water being used…and remember once the leaves are out of the solution, the material can stay in the dyebath for as long as you like..
    oh, and about stains and splotches? hey, I’ve been writing notes all over my ‘author copy’
    best wishes

  3. that is some very impressive, and beautiful, “home cooking.”
    the colors of your dyed wool is just gorgeous.

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