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.

Monday, 2 January 2012

pan modifying boring tan and yellows

Getting alot of uninspiring dye results? Try "modifying" your tans and anaemic banana dyeing . An easy process really, done after you've discovered your boring colour.
Well, when I say "pan" modifying, I really mean "rusty old collander", and "small copper bowl" which I put into my stainless steel pans with dyed wool in, usually with the already used dye liquor. In the case of using  copper, it's useful to reheat the dyedwool + dye liquor + copper (swabbed with vinegar for a few days previously) for about 20 minutes on a simmering heat, and best to leave it to all steep at least overnight, or if you're me, completely forget about it for a few days until you have to clean out the guinea pig and move that very interesting looking pan off her hutch... The really bright, deep copper colour (top left) was achieved this way, from an original boring, and pale looking tan from Pear tree leaves ( the locks on the left in the bottom picture).
The locks on the right are from some rose leaves, which with alum went a lovely golden yellow, on Wensleydale wool: These locks when modified with copper bowl, became the lovely grassy green locks in the bottom middle of the top photo.
The green tops on the bottom left are from privet leaves treated similarly. The more olivey tops are from birch leaves modified with copper as well.
The silver grey locks on the bottom right are rose leaves modified with the rusty iron collander, which you don't heat up. Just leave it in the dye liquor with the wool, until it's the right shade (but check it reguarly, as it can make the wool too brittle...) This was actually more accidental than my copper modifying, as I didn't realise the collander had got so rusty underneath...But you can also get a similar effect using a solution of steeped rusty nails, with water and vinegar. I don't often want a grey wool, as there's a wonderful array of lovely, naturally occuring (on the sheep) grey wools already, but it works well on Wensleydale locks as potential Crone's hair....
You can also get a very elfin silvery green modifying with the iron solution in or over yellows if you only leave the locks in for a minute or two, carefully watching them, so they don't go all the way into grey.