Friday, 22 August 2014

Dyeing the yarn for Shetland Wool Week 2


Getting this lighter olive was quite a challenge as it was the second green I was aiming for and needed to be lighter than the one I had produced already ( 2 skeins to the right on image of August 19th). Part of the problem was I needed to get a darker shade 'wet' as when it was dry it would be lighter . However it was not to be so dark it would be too close to the dark olive I already had. As I have noted already I was doing trial skeins - but on different yarn and as anyone who has done natural dyeing knows it is not an exact science and seemingly doing everything the same can sometimes give different results.

So for this olive I used elder leaves and stems that I gathered fresh, boiled up and allowed to cool overnight. I then heated the wool with the elder extract ( it gave a glorious bright yellow) then removed the wool. After adding modifiers of copper, vinegar and iron I heated the wool in the extract again and produced this glorious olive colour, I added further iron until I judged the olive was the right olive. After rinsing and noting as always the fastness of the colour it hung on the line to dry and I was pleased and relieved to say it was distinctively lighter than the olive I already had. Another success!

This colour was not dyed specifically for the hat, but is the exact colour that I needed so I decided to use it. The wool is some previous handspun Jacob and I had dyed it with heather ( again following an alum mordant) and then modified with tin. For some reason I had done two small skeins which was just perfect as I could put them between the two olives and purples to see how they would look on the hat! They were dyed in 2004. The rest of the yarn was used in a cushion and they were left over so I am pleased they now have a use.


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