We are demolishing one old flower bed and putting up four brand new ones. All of these flower beds will be for flowers that I will use to dye fibre and yarn with; I’m so excited. Watch the latest video here.
To prepare the combed top I first made sure I had four individual dye baths so I could modify each dye bath. I used a food warming appliance. I find this appliance keeps the heat at a constant low temperature so I could avoid felting the top. Next…
I presoaked four 50g bundles of combed top for 30 minutes in a large plastic pail.
I dissolved 7.5g of alum in each dye bath and brought the temperature up to luke warm.
I then measured out 2.2g of extract and placed that in each dye bath. To get a variation of colour from the one extract I had to change the ph of the water by adding citric acid (this lowers the ph and I lowered it to 2), ammonia (this raises the ph and I raised it to 11).
I also put ferrous sulfate in one dye bath (1g). This is how I got the light gray colour.
Once I got the ph that I wanted I added the 50g of wet combed top.
I kept the water temp just above warm to the touch for an hour.
Then I turned off the heat and left the fibre sit in the dye bath overnite.
I drained the fibre, rinsed it with a ph neutral soap; I used Unicorn Fibre Rinse, and then hung them to dry.
I also added to each dye bath a 25g mini skein of organic Superwash Merino/Nylon (80/20).
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this experiment. When I do this again I want to double the amount of extract to each dye bath. I’ve also been told I can get a forest green from pomegranate. I will need to research this some more.
Watch this video to see all the braids up close and make sure you subscribe to this YouTube channel to see more experiments with extracts, plants and vegetables. Oh and make sure you follow my shop to see the batts I make with my botanical dyed combed top. I know I will be using these in a batt too.
Today was all about experimenting with Blue faced Leicester combed top, organic Superwash merino/nylon (yes there is such a thing) yarn, and pomegranate extract (from Maiwa). I used alum as my mordant. My modifiers were cream of tarter, iron, and ammonia.
Biggest tip I can pass on to you when working with combed top is to use a low heat. You can’t rush this process either or you will end up with a felted mess; ask me how I know. Ph strips come in very handy when taking notes to replicate a colour. I used one when I used the ammonia. The other modifiers were all weighed in grams; most were at 2-5% weight of fibre.
Here are some early peeks at the dye baths. So far it looks like a greyish green and a butter yellow. However, after sitting over nite and then rinsing I may end up with some variations. These bundles of combed top may not catch your eye as is but in a gradient batt I’m sure they will catch your eye.
Make sure to tap on the Follow button to see the end result of this experiment and follow me on Etsy to see the batts I produce with these combed tops.