The other day I saw lots and lots of hickory nut hulls scattered on the ground near my car.
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:
First I put the hulls in water for a few hours, in an old enamel pot I got at a yard sale.
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:
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.
I wasn't sure what would happen; would the color "take" on linen as well as it had on the wool without a mordant?
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.