Ah, so the plan today is to clear off all the work on my desk so that I can go home and dye all weekend, guilt-free. Wish me luck. The dye plan tomorrow is tons of sock yarn, some new soft and silky kid mohair yarns and some BFL… plus more Gotland.
Here’s the sock yarn I’m working on now… It’s a new base yarn that is 100% superwash merino and comes in 50 g skeins of about 175 yards. So that would be two skeins for a pair of socks. I’m dyeing a few of my original colourways, a few random colourways and a handful of mostly solid colours. With any luck, I’ll be able to post these all in the shop next week (these will be $11 per skein). Again, wish me some of that good ol’ Irish luck.
The Gotland that I’m dyeing tomorrow was mordanted last night in 15% alum at about 175-180F for about an hour (I don’t remember… I was watching The O.C.). I’m letting it sit for a bit (sort of a wool spa) so that the mordant has more time to work. Reasoning? I want to get a good mid-value, vibrant purple using Logwood.
Logwood can be used as wood shavings from the _Hematoxylon Campechianum_ tree, but you have to extract the dye from the wood by soaking the wood chips overnight and boiling (over and over). Alternatively, Maiwa sells an extract that you can use directly in the dye pot. Easy peasy.
On Wednesday, March 1, our spinning/dyeing class at [Place des Arts](http://www.placedesarts.ca/) (in Coquitlam, and by the way is taking registrations for spring session now…) mordanted about a pound of wool. My contribution was a big lump of Border Leicester from Willowcrest Farm on Salt Spring Island. I took the mordanted wool home and let it sit, unrinsed in the fridge for a week until the next class. Then on March 8, we dropped the mordanted wool in a pot of Logwood extract. I don’t know if we used too much dye powder or if this was the mordant being super effective, but we got “almost black”.
On Saturday, March 10, for my own blanket project, I took about a pound of raw Gotland and washed and mordanted it quickly. Since I’m too impatient for two-step processes, I basically mordanted first thing in the morning and let it cool 20 minutes before plunging the fleece into a 1% Logwood extract bath. So, there wasn’t too much time for the wool to “cure” before the dyebath. What’s that saying, “good things come to people who wait” or something? Yeah, don’t know that one.
You can see the colour is quite a light lilac/lavender purple colour. Nicely varied through the wool. I quite like it, but take a look at the photo below for comparison…
On the left is the “almost black” purple that I got from the Border Leicester in class (one week curing with mordant, unknown amount of Logwood extract). On the right is the pale lavender purple that I got on the Gotland. Big, huge difference, no? Well, it’s nice to know the wide range of tones you can get from a simple sawdust!
So, tomorrow morning, the next batch of Gotland will go in a dyepot with the leftover Logwood dye bath plus the leftover Cochineal dye bath with an additional 2% Logwood dye powder. I’m aiming to get something quite at bit darker but also slightly shifted off this purple. Even though it’s a natural dye, this purple is so strangely vibrant that it _looks_ synthetic. I think I can understand how purple became the colour of royalty… it seems so foreign and _electric_.
Happy, lucky Friday!