I’ve been playing with making color palettes from random photographs. This one ended up on a colorway that I called Pink Agate (although the more I compare the picture with the crystals I have, this looks more like a Rhodocrosite):
50/50 Merino Silk Blend
This is silk chiffon dyed for the feltmakers in mind.
Hand Dyed Silk Chiffon
They are both listed in my shop now for purchase ; )
And not only with botanical prints. We also focused on the use of different dyes like Madder, Indigo, Weld and Cochineal to add more depth to the already interesting looking prints that we get from the leaves. The class went really fast and the amount of information was sometimes a bit overwhelming, but it was all reinforced by putting into practice the information given in the classroom. Besides being a wonderful teacher, Irit is very generous with the information she shares with her students. I came back home tired, but eager to start playing with all the new techniques that I learned at Pacific Grove. Here are few of the pictures I took of some of the student projects made in this class.
Last year while hiking the Sierras I came upon this chartreuse lichen that fell off the incense cedars. I had read about this lichen before. Since I wasn’t expecting to find some, I got very excited when I stumbled into it and started collecting some from the fallen branches. Wolf Lichen (Letharia Vulpina) was used before by the natives for dyeing and by the Achomawi for making poisoned arrowheads. The name must come from the fact that this lichen is poisonous due to the vulpinic acid and has been used in the past for poisoning wolves and foxes. The plant has been used also to make a tea to stop bleeding, and for treating bruises, sores and such.
So I gathered about a pound of this conspicuous plant, and some was used to cover the head of my hiking partner who looked like the Woodland Fairy of the Sierras.
I didn’t want to use it until I had the right wool for it and the right project for the wool. I got some Falkland that I spun into a thick and thin yarn and I thought that it was a good time to use the lichen.
I did some search online and I wasn’t able to find any recipe that could help me to prepare the dye bath. I asked some questions on Ravelry and with help here and there I decided to give it a try. The first thing I did was to soak the lichen for about a week. The next step was to simmer it for about and hour. Meanwhile I pre-mordant the yarn with Alum. The lichen can also be used without the mordant. After simmering the lichen, I strained it to get rid of bark and debris that could cling onto my yarn and put it back onto my dyepot with the yarn in it.
I let it simmer for about an hour and turned off the flame. I let the yarn sit and cool off overnight in the dye pot and voila! These are the results after drying the yarn.
I used the bath a second time with some yarn spun with Icelancic wool that I got from Extreme Spinning on Etsy. I got a more subtle buttery yellow that I like very much.
I didn’t try a third time, but it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get any more color after the second bath. Next time I get a hold of some more wolf lichen, I will try to use it without the mordant and maybe add some ammonia to it to see if there is any color variation.
You May Be Deceived If You Trust Too Much, But You Will Live In Torment If You Don’t Trust Enough.