Friday, March 28, 2008

Dodder Dye Day

California Sagebrush
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
This is the field where I get my California Sagebrush - Artemisia californica. You can see a close up of the twigs on the left, and a whole bush at center. This stuff smells so good...

The Plan
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Here's the plan for the day. It's not easy getting organized, but it really does help when I start to get tired!

In case you can't quite read my notes, I'm exploring how best to store dodder to use later in the year. Bjo has said that dried dodder doesn't give color, and that's been my experience also. But I thought I'd try frozen and canned dodder too.

Dried dodder
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
I got this dodder from the field shown at top. It's dried for just over a week, in the back yard, with about 2 hours of afternoon sun per day. When I weighed it as fresh, it was 6 ounces. In the dried state here, it's 1.75 ounces. It's not completely dry-- I think that if I sealed this in a plastic bag it would still mold.

Freshly gathered dodder
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
My Roketman volunteered to go get the dodder toooday, after wagging a finger and scolding me (in jest, of course!) about tweaking my heel yesterday. I think this is at least a pound, if not two! I weighed out 8 ounces to use fresh today.

Canned dodder
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Can you can dyestuff, you ask? Yes, you certainly can can dyestuff! (sorry, can't resist a good play on words. Or a bad one, either, it seems...)

You can dyestuffs just like food, only you don't have to be careful at all about sterility or acidity. All you need to do is a water bath and bring the internal temp up to at least 160F, turn off the heat, seal, and make sure the lid pops down.

Canned dodder closeup
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Look closely at the color - I noticed that the sunlight seems to fade the dodder. The inside was much brighter.

This is from the dyebath at the last Dye Day, so it's not entirely "new". But there was a lot of dodder in the pot incomparison to fiber, and I think there's still a lot of color.

Four dyepots on three burners
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Here's how to cope when you have four dyepots for three burners. I did keep an eye on temps, and rotated the pots as necessary. After I took this picture, I labeled the pots with some blue painter's tape and indelible marker. They do look pretty similar, and I know my tendency to lose track.

Out of the dyepots
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Here's the results. I've got pictures of each dyepot in the Flickr set, because I decided they were a bit too repetitive to put here. Besides, not everyone is as interested in the obsessive details as I am, right?

Dried dodder out of the dyepot
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
These two skeins came out of the dyepot noticeably different -- and the only difference is that they came from different fleeces. Both were romney, both white. Fascinating!

Dodder with indigo overdye
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
This picture isn't the best, but I wanted the tags to show. The skeins are much more green than shows here, in the teals. Notice how much more green the dried dodder overdyed with indigo is! Now go look at the yellow skeins. Who would have thunk.

My conclusions? I think that if you want the best and brightest yellow, you ought to use fresh dodder. If you want to overdye, it really doesn't matter as much.

I was suprised at the difference that the wool makes -- look at the dried dodder with two different romney fleeces. Same dye, same pot, same everything except fleeces.

I'm going to do a lightfastness test on this. One of my goals is to do some sort of portfolio, and this would be an ideal entry.

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At 5:22 PM , Anonymous AlisonH said...

Wow. Cool! I love me a good bluegreen.


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