Monday, September 23, 2013

Hickory Dyeing

The other day I saw lots and lots of hickory nut hulls scattered on the ground near my car.

Hickory Nut Hulls

I filled up a canvas bag and took them home. The natural dyeing book I ordered hasn't arrived yet, but after a little Googling, I was ready to give dyeing a whirl.

I wanted to overdye this lovely skein that I dyed with madder at the Squam Art Workshops Taproot Gathering. It was a very pretty color but I couldn't see myself wearing it or designing with it:

Madder-dyed Sportweight

First I put the hulls in water for a few hours, in an old enamel pot I got at a yard sale.

Hickory Hulls Cooking

Then I heated up the dye pot until the dye bath was simmering but not boiling. (Meanwhile I soaked the yarn in water.) I added a couple tablespoons cream of tartar, and in went the wet yarn for about 40 minutes.

The next day, when it was dry, it looked like this:

Yarn After Hickory Dyeing

Success! Such a lovely nut brown. Here and there a hint of the madder still shines through. This little skein will be perfect for a pair of fingerless mitts, or maybe a hat.

After dyeing the yarn, I put a linen napkin, which I'd stitched and gathered with long running stitches, into the dye pot and left it there for the afternoon.

Stitching Linen Before 

I wasn't sure what would happen; would the color "take" on linen as well as it had on the wool without a mordant?

Linen After Hickory Dyeing

The answer was "not so well." But I like the faint, ghostly markings. I may stitch in and around them for an abstract embroidery piece.

I look forward to more dyeing experiments after Wild Color arrives.


Leigh said...

Bonnie, your yarn turned out beautifully! Can't wait see it in its finished, knitted, state.

Deb Hoss said...

Your yarn has been transformed - this is a super! color. I just love it and can't wait to see what it becomes.


Hi Bonnie, everything has been so inspiring on your site!!! the stitches the stitches. If you want to make a mark on cellulose...try soaking the fiber in milk, yogurt, tofu water, almond milk i.e. any protein milk will bond with the fiber and the dye (or leaf etc) will stick to the protein. If it doesn't make sense call me 347 866 1123

Bonnie said...

Amy Lou, that does make sense. I'll give it a try. Thanks!