Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Shades of Green

Chartreuse --
Did I spell that right?

We had a beautiful weather here in Novato last weekend. I spent some time in the backyard, tending my plants, then I looked at the rosemary trimmings -- oh yeah. I can dye with this.

Strangely, any of my natural dyeing books mention rosemary as a dye plant, but I have seen this site before, and wanted to try it. Since it was a hot day, rather than subjecting my family to hours of rosemary soup cooking in the kitchen, I decided to use the grill outside.

If you want to try dyeing on the BBQ grill, note -- it's better to remove the grates and put the pot/pan closer to the flame. It's also a good idea to have a thermometer handy -- this is in fact the first time I checked the temperature throughout, and because of it I may discovered one of the reasons why I keep failing with dyeing. What I needed may have been -- more heat.

I've neglected to take pictures of the process, but here's what I did --

Cut sprigs of rosemary into stainless steel bowl -- small pieces -- about 300 grams. Cover with water and simmer, 140 - 150 F, for a little over an hour. I mordanted 60 grams of wool with 10% alum + pinch of cream of tar tar, and cooled it down, and washed it. The rosemary soup is now yellow-greenish brown, or brownish yellow-green -- depending on how you take it. We leave to Josh's baseball game, leaving the soup to cool.

After we come back from the ball game, I filtered the soup, then added the mordanted wool in it. Again, making sure that it's heated slowly to around 140 F, I left it simmering for an hour -- catching a quick nap. Took it off the heat and left it to cool.

I really like what I got -- it's yellow-green, yellow stronger than the shade of green. The photo just didn't capture the color, although I took it in the natural light. Chartreuse? I was supposed to get much darker, stronger hunter green though -- like the third one from the top on the color swatches on the link above (see near bottom of the page). The result was completely different.

The wool smells wonderful, even after it's washed and dried. It's much sweeter, complex kind of fragrance, rather than the pungent, culinary rosemary aroma.

I'm disappointed that no matter what I tried I couldn't take a picture that showed the true color of this dye project. I will try posting some more pictures as I spin this.

I've finished socks for Tomoko. She's my friend at work, and she had requested a pair of "sage color" socks.

It's getting too warm for a pair of cushy wool socks, but since she lives in San Francisco, I hope they are still somewhat appreciated... Summer in the city can be freezing sometimes.

I bought this yarn in Montreal in March, with Tomoko's request in mind. Is this sage? Maybe it's more like wasabi. It's made in UK -- very cute label.

Mitch had a good weekend, playing soccer, playing with Erin's boys, and enjoying the weather. So did I -- the problem is that weekend is too short, and now Josh has a bum thumb, and Warriors lost!

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