Thursday, October 22, 2009

2009 Headlong to the End

I've been down with a cold this week. This has given me a lot of time to look at my surroundings and mentally take stock, at least. I also slipped in some easy yarn dyeing, since I had already mordanted and prepped my wool before the cold bug took me down.

I have been saving flower heads from my farm bouquets--mostly dahlias. I also have also had my eye on plants in my backyard. The most rampant growing is a Mexican marigold (Tagetes spp.). So, in my bored, cold-ridden state, I started in on the yarn.

Mexican marigold taken in my backyard:

Dahlias were first, and I boiled them and, whatever flowers we in the most recent bouquet, up into a nice tea. A quick 10 minute dunk gave a light sunny yellow. Longer gave a chartreuse green. I also overdyed some of my nettle and sumac dyed batches and got more greens.

My last farm bouquet, once lovely, became part of a dye bath when faded:

I then cooked up all the fresh Tagetes flowers I could lay hold of and this gave a WONDERFUL clear yellow. I overdyed some of the yarn from all the previous batches and got some cross yellows and yellow-greens. Good fun!!

Yellows and yellow greens from dyer's madness:

I have one more skein of yarn ready. I am boiling up some tea from the Mexican marigold leaves. I want to redunk some sumac and nettle yarns to test. If I like what I see, I'll throw in the last skein. Otherwise, I will make up a bath this weekend using some orange flowering maple. There are two bushes in full bloom in the yard right now.

Flowering maple (Abutilon spp.):

I figure I have to act fast. I heard my first skein of Aleutian geese a few minutes ago, which means Winter is not so very far away. They overwinter here in the thousands, and October is almost over. Furthermore, the Japanese maple in the yard is starting to show it's Fall color.

The first hint of the red to come:

Orangey hints of the more radioactive red the tree will soon show. Plants are rolling it up for the season and that also means the dyeing season is rolling up--at least for the fresh stuff. So, make dye while the sun shines!!

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