On the back of my other successful dyeing experiments I decided to get a bit cocky and do something more difficult.
I used a 104 g skein of mulberry thowster silk, a by-product of the sari industry, which is then cleaned, bleached and spun again into skeins
I wanted to make a skein that changed colours so I divided the skein into roughly three parts and wound each one into a loose roll.
I’d been collecting cherry seeds and thought I’d throw a few whole cherries for good effect (and because they were starting to go soft and weren’t really edible so I didn’t want to waste them). The mordant I used for the cherries was salt: 1/2 a cup of salt to 8 cups of water. I boiled up the mixture for about 30 mins, then left it to cool down and left it for an hour or so, then I strained all the pulp and seeds out.
Then I popped one of the end balls into the cold dye bath and heated it up until it was simmering. I turned the ball over once or twice to make sure the wool was evenly covered.
I decided to do something a bit different with the next ball. I had some left over Blue Heaven topping that I was going to throw out so I thought I’d have a bit of fun with it.
Now I know it isn’t natural, but I’m all about using what I’ve got and reducing waste, so rather than just tipping it out I decided to use it.
This was the messy part.
I started using it straight and left the ball in the container overnight, turning it once.
I checked it in the morning, the outside was vibrant blue but the inside was still white so I got my fingers into the ball and tried to squish the topping into the middle of it. That didn’t really work very well so I diluted it with some water then loosened the ball and smooshed it around. I left it for another few hours.
I was aiming for a graduated red to blue colour way so I thought I’d do the middle ball purple. I still had the cherry dye left so I soaked the middle ball in there for a while till it went pinkish then I put some of the blue heaven in there and dripped it onto the ball so it was a mottled blue/ red (see in pic below)
As the balls dried the colours faded quite a bit and I wasn’t really happy with the result. SO, I put the red and middle (purplish) ball back into the cherry dye for an hour or so. The middle ball came out pinkish with no discernible blue blobs and then I put the first ball back in the cherry dye but I added a few drops of red food colouring to strengthen the colour as the cherry dye was weak by now.
I was well and truly over it by now 😉
I rinsed the balls ( the blue one was sticky!), let everything dry , wound it back into one large skein then washed it with wool wash and let it dry in the shade one last time. The colours faded quite a bit once the yarn dried.
Then I re- wound it into a ball. I think it’s quite pretty, it goes from blue to a light pinky, sometimes purple colour in the middle to a dark cherry / maroon colour in the middle. I’m calling it my State of Origin colourway.
Stay tuned for more dyeing adventures,