About this blog space

This blog space is a place for me to primarily put all my wool gatherings, adventures, experiments. I am now a mum of two astounding daughters, and I used to be a DIY musician and co-ran a tiny independent label (Slampt), so this punk can-do attitude plus feminist analysis and Art school experience somehow informs my wool work! I am also deeply moved by GREEN, trees, weather, colour combinations in nature, and texture. I aim to source wool from round the corner or at the very least UK grown and processed, and to create no toxic waste. This means I get to see sheep as often as I can, sometimes at wool fests.
I am on Ravelry and Etsy as FatHenWildWool and Facebook as Rachel Holborow.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Blue from Cabbage

As dyestuffs become less easy to obtain from weeds in winter, I roam in search of dye from the grocer's shelf. I have recently stumbled accross this ad hoc method for obtaining a blue or sometimes slate blue/grey from red (purple) cabbages:
First get, by whatever means you are comfortable, one to two red cabbages.
Next chop them up until you have enough to fill your Dyepot (Stainless steel is best, as some metals ie iron, aluminium and copper can change your dye colour..). Add enough water to cover cabbage ( rain water is best), then simmer for at least an hour. Strain the cabbage dregs out and put on the compost heap.
The water will be an outrageously gorgeous shade of purple, but that means nothing in the world of plant dyeing. At this point add some (half a bottle?) of vinegar to help the dye bite into the wool.
Let this dyepot sit and cool.
Thoroughly wet your wool to be dyed. But do not agitate it. Be gentle and caressing.
When your dye pot is no more than luke warm you can immerse your wool in it and then slowly (to prevent felting) bring it up to simmering. Simmer for at least 20 mins. Then you can take it off the heat. I like to leave my wool in the pot of dye a least overnight, to ensure a reasonable colour.
Then you can rinse out the dye, and you should have a sort of sky to slate blue. I found with Blue Faced Leicester white tops, I got blue, but The Texel white I dyed at the same time in the same pot came out greyer. Ah, the curious world of plant dyeing....
The photo at the top of this blog entry features BFL dyed with red cabbage, tumeric, exhausted logwood, and onion skins (kindly saved and donated by my local real health food shop Alligator, Thanks).

1 comment:

  1. After reading your blog post from a couple of weeks ago about cabbage dyeing, I tried it and found fantastic results on extra fine merino and falkland fibres. Another source of blue and slate blue, grey tones is black beans although to stop the colour washing straight out you have to mordant with vinegar, citric acid and lemon or limes. Also I did see a blog post recently for cooking where the lady used purple sweet potatoes in a cake recipe and I wondered whether the skins would turn the fibre blue or not, going to try that next :)
    Helen x