Thursday, June 30, 2016

Experiment #426 Continued

Try, try, try again. . . 

Ok, so I wanted some more color on the cloak with copper and sepia dyes
It already looks like rust to me, so I thought I would give rust dyeing a try.

I laid the cloak out added found rusty objects and 
sprayed it down with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. 
I added salt in various places to hopefully speed up the process.

Next after spraying it down multiple times I realized that it was just too hot and the whole thing was drying out too fast. So I wadded everything up and crammed it into a tote. Covered it in the vinegar water solution for 2 days!!

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Part of me wonders if the cheep vinegar is already watered down. Next time I will use full strength brand name vinegar. 

 The second round of eco dyeing at least had some success.
The only thing that seemed to take well were the sapling Catawba leaves. There's a faint print from the asparagus leaves in one or two places, but nothing dark enough to show up well on camera. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Eco Dyeing / Experiment #426 Fail

I was so excited when I woke up in the early morning full of energy! That doesn't happen very often these days. I went out and got the morning feeding done early, collected all of my supplies and set about giving eco dyeing another try. First I did some research using a book called North American Dye Plants. I've bookmarked everything I remembered seeing easily accessible to me, which was quite a lot actually. 

I believe these are called Cow Parsnip. 

I found a friend! Don't worry I put him/her back in their parsnip patch.

I think this is Bindweed, which resembles morning glories when in bloom. 

And last, asparagus fronds.

I laid everything out on half the cloak, then folded the second half over. It was so pretty and I was sure it would work this time. Then I rolled everything up into a long cylinder and again into a spiral. I tied it off with a synthetic cording and boiled the package in water and alum for 3 hours turning occasionally. Then I let it cool until I could comfortably unwrap it. 

Unfortunately what I gathered this morning and the mordant I used (alum) together seemed to not produce the best results. There was almost no color transfer over the entire cloak, even after boiling for 3 hours and letting cool to the touch. I couldn't even bring myself to take a final picture. 

I did bring the cloak inside and am soaking it overnight in soda ash. Maybe it will help, maybe it wont. I'm also going to try using iron as a mordant next. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Experiment #425, Can I easily* clean belly/nasty wool? And an update . . .

Well, we're done with lambing!! I think. . . 

We added 18 new sheep to our flock last fall, 3 of which are weathers. Which means we have a total of 25 ewes. We knew all of them wouldn't be bred because the new additions are older, some a lot older. However we've only had 4 ewes lamb so far. 3 sets of twins and a single! 7 isn't bad but I think its time to clip our ram and replace him for someone more productive.

Recently we hired someone to come out and shear the flock, mostly because at 6 months pregnant I just can't wrestle them like I did last year. partly because professionals are a lot faster then I am and a bit because the new sheep are quite a bit larger then the Finns and a bit more squirrely. They were not very happy during shearing but were much cooler and obviously more comfortable afterwards. Now I have 32 fleeces to add to the 30+ from last year! I'm going to process some into yarn, some into roving and some into locks. 

Now, onto the experiment!
The one more experienced shearer went ahead and skirted all of the belly and dirty wool. After 32 sheep that's quite a bit of "throw away" wool, it filled 2 - 30 gallon lawn bags. I got to thinking maybe if I could clean it up, I could process it to use as core roving in my needle felting projects. But I also don't want to do a ton of washing, rinsing and carrying of heavy wet wool. I get tired easily these days and its just going to get worse. So this is where the experimenting and the weather come into play. Yes, the weather. I'm going to let the rain wash the majority of the yuck from the wool. 

Ignore my fat finger. As you can see its filthy. It was thrown on the barn floor, walked all over and only picked up as an after thought. Its a mix of Finn, Lincoln and one red Tunnis, in all different colors. The first 2 pictures are of the wool laid out on a make shift skirting table, after its been in a light shower. Unfortunately with as dirty as it is, its going to take a serious rain, or 3, to clean it up enough I'll be willing to send it through my picker. Fortunately for me its supposed to thunderstorm on Wed. So I will have to update you later this week. For now here are some more pictures to tide you over. 

Just a different way to lay out more wool for washing. These baskets have a woven bottom so the dirty water can drain through. I'll set them up on some blocks for better drainage. 

Little lamb getting their head scratched. 

Its very tiring, just being born.