Thursday, June 18, 2009

Looking Even Farther Ahead

I haven't even finished winding onto cones the skeins of warp yarns for the next Water Series scarves, and already the warp after that is calling. Mostly because I have a big backlog of wood chips taking up real estate in the studio bathroom, waiting to become wonderful colors on yarn for a Wood Series project.

Here is the array of jars of chips (and a few other substances) soaking in denatured alcohol:

Some of these jars have been waiting patiently since we moved - well over a year ago now. No matter, there's still color in there!

Yesterday, I added to the array of jars, because DH had been turning candlesticks from California Pepper wood, and also made some bowls from a red-hued wood similar to Bloodwood. Maybe not the same species as bloodwood, but the chips were a lovely color. So I filled a couple of spare lidded containers with chips and poured in the alcohol:

You can see here how red those chips are. Well, no sooner had I re-capped the alcohol container and put a spoon into the jar of red chips than the liquid had already turned an incredibly rich color. This is perhaps 30 seconds after I poured the alcohol into the jar:

This will dye a color similar to madder - I may never have to buy madder chips again! The liquid in the jar of pepper chips didn't turn colorful as quickly. Today, it was a lovely amber but still quite pale. I've never dyed with it before, so I don't know how much color (or what hue) will come out of it.

One of the things I have found about dyeing with colors extracted from wood chips is that the color of the liquid isn't necessarily the color that will bond with the yarn. Some of what you see in the liquid turns out to be fugitive, with no intention of forming a permanent attachment to fiber. It looks one hue in the dyepot, and another when the yarn is washed.

Ah, the adventure of the dyepots!


Connie Rose said...

Fascinating, Sandra! So the denatured alcohol doesn't affect the fiber? I would think it did -- but then soda ash doesn't, except for silk, and it's pretty caustic.
Can't wait to see the new warp!

Benita said...

Denatured alcohol, huh? Well, it's gotta be cheaper than the Everclear I've been using, although not nearly so much fun to buy.

I've used alcohol on wood dyes for years now, and it's amazing how much color they give and keep giving. I can't wait to see what some of your newer experiments look like. Hmmm... I have some sawdust from black walnut I'm going to try...

Sally said...

I would like to know if I should use a mordant if I am using walnut chips. I have had walnut chips in alcohol for several months now. I would like to dye some natural yarns as well as overdye some yarns. I have heard that the walnut is a strong dye. Do I need to use a mordant on all the yarns I want to use?

neki desu said...

thank you for the last paragraph as i was having a heavy jealousness fit :)
ok inferring here, could i use an alcohol soak for indigo balls?

neki desu