Ikat, natural dyed yarn

I used a wrapping technique (Ikat) to space dye this yarn.  The yarn started white-white.  The pretreatment with gall nut tannin gave it a light brown color.  The golden yellow comes from black walnut leaves which came from the green space in the neighborhood–close enough to call it my backyard! I dyed it with two other colors…alkanet and madder.  Alkanet should give a nice deep purple, but this batch is greeny/browny.  The madder gives the red/orange color.

Ikat reskeined

Cotton/rayon yarn dyed with alkanet, madder and black walnut leaves.

I had in mind a purple/red/gold combination…not what I got, But, I find this to be a pleasing autumn leaves combination.  When re-skeined, I have a better look of the colors for an intended knitting or weaving project.

I used a piece of plastic and string to get the ikat resist–each color required a re-tie.  The skein was placed in the dye bath with the open part of the skein in the color.  Surprisingly, the bagged part got wet (must have seeped in despite the tie) BUT, the color didn’t seep up.  I’ll leave it to the physics experts to explain that.

The madder–the red/orange color comes from the roots of a plant; it takes four years for the roots to be usable.  I have it growing in my garden…I figure I have only 3 years and 11 months to wait!


4 thoughts on “Ikat, natural dyed yarn

  1. I should try that too, it turned out great!
    Last month I tried to do an cotton ikat warp…… slowly tied off areas while it was on the warping frame, with balloons and plastic bags and string. Then soaked it in white oak bark overnight. Then made a cochineal dye bath using the last of my cochineal. Then the big mistake! I added some iron water to the cochineal ( a half cup of water out of a jar that was water and vinegar with an iron pipe soaking in it) and it turned the entire dye bath a sickly deep purply gray.
    Was going to go ahead and weave it up….. but, even though I had put in tons of ties to keep the warp in place, the warp was too tangled to even get on the loom. Finally gave up and tossed it. Luckily it wasn’t a huge warp!

    • Curiosity…what was the iron supposed to do with the cochineal? I’ve found that iron does some nice things but I’ve had it get out of control!!

      About Ikat…I saw a Youtube on it. It was done by an Indonesian family–very interesting and complex designs. Looked so easy to me. So, I tried it (lots of ties.) I lost the intended pattern as I warped the loom. But, I wove it up. What I got was interesting. For this skein…it was big blocks (ikat-easy for dummies,) but I was pleased with it.

      • I had added the iron trying to get a deeper darker red….. just experimenting! I had woven a cotton shawl a few years ago that I dyed after the fact, in cochineal and alum….. I got a orchid color that wasn’t very appealing to me. So I thought that I’d play around a bit.
        Yes….. iron and I often don’t do well together! I had eco printed a couple of yards of silk twill two summers ago….. very weak prints….. so I thought, what will a dip in iron water do? Arghhh! Turned the whole fabric black!!
        I did some successful ikats about 20 years ago….. but was using aniline dyes and just soaked the warps in it. I think that I handled this one (stirred) too much……. think? I know I did!
        Oops….. lightning and rain just started! I’d better unplug the computer!

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