Sampling, mostly vines

Vines are the samples of the day.  Woodbine, grape, like grape.  And, a couple others…Bradford pear and yellow marigold.

From upper left, clockwise…marigold, pear, woodbine, grape, decorative like-grape

Woodbine is a bust.  They climb up trees; so you’d think that the color would be like trees.  (LOL) NOT!!

Grape leaves give some color…must be the plant saves it’s energy for the fruit.

In my garden, I have a decorative vine, that looks like grape…same nondescript result.

The marigold (mostly yellow) is a different plant than mine.  Love it!!  The pear was a retest…still not much color.  But, it’s a month later…maybe in another month, it’ll be a deeper color.

I had to retest grave leaves…I think that I tested them before and got little result…and decided it wasn’t worth saving.  I did get more color today.

Sampling lessons?  Save results whether good or bad.  And date them.  Logically, the colors would change depending on the time of year.  But, I’m not going to get too crazy about this…however, if I find that I get a lovely carmine red if I wait until the fall, or after the first frost…wouldn’t that be a lovely surprise!  The pre-decoction color (that is, the leaf or flower color) is not necessarily an indication of the dye result.

After a previous post, I had a question about the process that I follow.  For the testing that I do, I pick a bit of plant material.  Enough leaves or flowers to fill the bottom of a small pan.  And, fill/cover with water.  Then I cook–bring it to a boil and then simmer until the leaves have turned that grey-green of overcooked green beans.  Maybe 10 minutes.  Then I put in a small swatch**of aluminum-acetate treated cotton.  I test with cotton.  When testing, I generally put the fabric in with the plant material.

**About the swatch size.  I reviewed my swatch book…when I first started, I have a good size piece…maybe a fat 1/8th of a yard.  Soon I dropped to 4 x 6.  And now, I’m mostly using 2″ x 2″!!

If I’m going to dye fabric for a project, the process is similar, but takes a bit longer.  The pot is bigger.  It takes longer to bring the pot to temperature.  And, I pour off the decoction (to get rid of the plant material) before I put in the fabric.  How much plant material?  Since I’m harvesting what’s basically a weed, I’m not so particular about the amount.  Technically, it should be 10% weight of fabric (WOF) but I generally fill the bottom of the pan…maybe about 25% of the depth of the pan.  I don’t soak the plant material…although, I might bring the pot to temperature and then let it sit overnight.  If I feel it needs it, I might bring it to temperature again the second day.

And, since I’m mostly working with harvested often-weedy plant material, I don’t try to save it.  The first couple batches, my frugality took over and I saved my dye pots.  They grew some lovely mold in only a couple days.

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