Okay, maybe the profit part is a bit of a stretch, but the science is real…
I have always heard that a local plant that is the bane of the farmers around here, has a use for dying fabric.
Marlahan Mustard, or Dyer’s Woad.
I decided this was my year of finding out if it was true.
I found a few local specimens.
It’s not hard to do. The stuff is EVERYWHERE.
I brought a bundle home. The dogs inspected it and declared it fit for usage.
I stripped off the seeds [which will stain your fingers purple], and added water…
I threw in some leaves and stems because they too had some purple on them.
I simmered this mess for a few hours.
Then I soaked some yarn in salt water and added it to the strained liquid.
I have no idea what your monitor will show, but the water was purple, and was turning the yarn a kind of deep mauve color. I added a couple of glugs of white vinegar at this point.
I left it to simmer for a few hours more.
Then, because I had read up on this process, I added some alum to set the color.
Only thing is, it CHANGED the color.
It IS pretty colorfast now, but this is what I ended up with…
In real life, it’s a muted sort of Loden green.
Now I want to do it all again and leave out the alum and see if I can keep the mauve color.
I can’t vouch for it being colorfast at all, most likely it won’t be. But I just want to satisfy my curiosity.
I also died some yarn using the yellow flowers of this plant last week. It turned it a pale camel color. Pretty uninspiring actually.
But I think I’m going to make a little bag out of it and see what happens in the felting.
(It’s a good thing you only play mad scientist with weeds. Heaven help us if you had access to heavy metals.)
Alchemy. It has a long and glorious tradition.
(Yeah, and a whole string of madmen sick from mercury poisoning too.)
Truly. Your capacity for buzzkill is staggering. Perhaps a little dip in the dye bath with alum would do you good.
(Don’t even think about it Cupcake. Green is not my color.)
How do you feel about mauve?