Monday, October 10, 2016

Dyeing with Alkanet

This was a new venture for me, never having dyed with alkanet in the past. Based on my reading, it is a relatively weak dye plant, requiring ~75-100% weight of goods; this means that if for example, you want to dye 8 oz of fiber then you need 6-8 oz of the dried plant to start out. Another interesting challenge with alkanet is that the pigments are not water soluble; the sources I consulted recommended extracting it into alcohol. I started with 4 oz of alkanet, placed in a quart jar and soaked in denatured alcohol for 4 days prior to using it. I strained off the dye liquid using an old wire mesh strainer, and added it to the warm water in the dyepot. The two skeins below and the first and second dye baths respectively. The yarn is a 50/50 wool/mohair blend the was pre-mordanted with alum/cream of tartar. Time in the pot for both the first and second baths was ~ 30 minutes, and the skeins in the second bath were allowed to cool overnight in the pot and washed the next day.