Friday, July 10, 2009

Natural dyeing, and more restlessness

Okay, so as previously mentioned, I did some dyeing with eucalyptus. I rashly promised to document the exercise, so here we go.

I'd read a little bit in books and on Ravelry about the uses of eucalyptus, and had been itching to get into some more dyeing, as previous experiments had been good fun. Also, I just generally wanted to try a few new things while I had the time, so I figured I'd take a bash at it.

I used dried leaves, for the very scientific reason of: that was what I could acquire. Then I simmered the leaves for a while (and for the record, they made my kitchen smell delightfully of rainy forest), then removed them, cooled the mixture slightly, and then added the yarn - probably "cooked" it for about 40 minutes all up:

I also did some dyeing with turmeric while I was at it, and man is that stuff vivid! I've heard that the light-fastness is not great, and I had to rinse it for ages before it stopped bleeding, but at the moment the colour is still very intense. The eucalyptus is much paler than I expected (I'd seen some people get some very vibrant colours), but the result was still very intriguing - a pale grey-brown with faint purplish streaks in parts (which of course fail to show up in the photo).

Not bad for a first attempt, all in all - especially considering I didn't bother checking the exact variety of tree involved. I'm thinking I'm going to use the yarn to make some lavender bags or something, as neither are really my colour. Still, it was definitely a fun experiment, and I definitely plan to play more with natural dyes in future.

In knitting news, I started yet another project. Bad Anna. I'm very good at starting and not finishing at the moment, but such is the ebb and flow of creativity I suppose. At any rate, my younger brother is heading off to Canada on exchange come August, and he's going to freeze his arse off if I don't furnish him with an appropriate level of woollens. So, a scarf:

Admittedly, it's not a very interesting scarf, but my priorities with this one are to make something that he'll actually wear, rather than something with gorgeous yarn or an elaborate stitch pattern. Last thing I checked, twenty-one year old guys weren't renowned for their love of lacework. So yes, at the moment there is a lot of scarf. Perhaps given time and enough cups of tea, I might actually get around to finishing one of the other projects I've been putting off. Perhaps.


Abby said...

Gosh, and I'd only known eucalyptus to be for cough drops and feeding koala bears. How enlightening.

Your brother going off to cold climes - how convenient to have you as a sister!

Sonia said...

I am in awe of your natural dyeing experiment! I've only ever dyed with food colouring and jelly / kool aid!