Friday, March 21, 2014

Eucalyptus Dyepot

In my travels on natural dyeing,  I ran into this lovely post on using Euca (might be the name of my next cat!) as a source for orange dye.  The aforementioned blogger notes that Eucalyptus pulverulenta
is known to provide a natural orange…and that is what she used.  However there are many (like 700) species of euca existing.  That notwithstanding, I know that there is a euca at my sister's house.  It has kind of grown out of control but in driving around in the Low Country I do see these, and they seem to be twisty bendy kind of trees.  (The branches are at the top of this rather bad photo…but you get the gist)

So, I motored off to my sister's in search of.  Now, we all know that this has been a harsh winter all over the place.  I found my sister's tree with a number of freeze-dried branches;  she planted it a couple of years ago and it is now about 20 feet tall!  So, I clipped off a number of dried branches plus some fresh ones.  And mind you…I have NO CLUE as to the species...

Here is the heavenly smelling dye bath!

And here is a test dip of wool…oh my!!!

I had some silk roving. Poorly labelled, I don't think that there is any merino in it but I couldn't swear to it. Jennifer from whom I bought the roving a while back said that "silk takes dye really well." I had spun up a  bobbin's worth of single ply and separated it into two hanks. 

I did what I could do for a chemistry experiment as best I could:

1) First hank:  simmered in alum mordant pot for an hour (see sandalwood dye recipe for details)

2) Mordant free

The dyepot:  6.5 oz oz of euca, used small twigs and leaves

Several quarts of water.  I confess, I did not measure. It was the capacity of my crockpot dedicated dyepot plus at some point I added another quart. 

I simmered them for an hour with the euca still in…then let it sit overnight.  

If you don't want to ever buy Mucinex again…try inhaling a euco dyepot instead... Lovely.  But watch the cats and small children…it is a toxin if ingested!!

Here is the result:  lovely, wonderful…and possibly fugitive…the mordanted on the right  is duller and browner.  Unmordanted, probably fugitive, a fabulous coppery shiny thing.  Ah, but what fun!!!

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