Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Use of Onion Linen

My husband came home from work yesterday with a great idea. First, he suggested that I take the beautiful yellow linen that I dyed using the Onion dye bath and make an under-petticoat with it. Secondly, stew up another walnut dye bath for a couple yards of linen and make a dark brown petticoat.

then I can wear them as props to show what natural dyes can do. First, the dark brown petticoat that they all can see and then I can lift that and show them the surprise bright yellow under-petticoat. Great idea.

I think that I will do up a batch of walnut dye this weekend just so I can dye the linen for the petticoat.

So, for Yorktown, I need to make 2 petticoats and a shift. I better get hot!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Onion Dye

My husband was gone this afternoon so I thought I would use the time to dye some wool. I looked at a couple of recipes and decided on Onion.

I purchased 8 pounds of yellow onions ($5.49), cut them up whole, and put them in a pot to boil. The recipe stated that it should take about 30 minutes of boiling to get the dye out of the onions. I am supposed to know they are done when they are weepy. That didn't happen for 90 minutes. Perhaps I should have cut them up into smaller pieces.

I put alum and cream of tartar into the dye bath, added cool water, and dropped in the damp wool. The wool came out a beautiful yellow. Surprising coming out of an onion.

Now I am making a batch of indigo. I can't believe that I have to let it set and ferment. You have to ferment the whole batch too, not just a little bit and then add to a dye vat. I am supposed to know it is finished fermenting when it is really stinky and has a scum on the top. How do you dye wool in something that is stinky? Today we can use rubber gloves. What did they do in the 18th Century? Not sure where I can put it where it won't be in the way and get spilt.

Surprising, there were two recipes for the indigo dye vat. One was to mix it with urine. I didn't use that recipe. I can't image collecting my urine and then fermenting it. Mmmm.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Liberty or Death Cap Completed

I finished knitting the Liberty or Death Cap with the Madder Red yarn I dyed a few weeks ago. This hat is different than the other two in a major way.

Instead of knitting the cap, dying it, and then using duplicate stitch to make the letters, this time I had the yarn dyed and was able to knit the letters into the cap. This one looks so much better close up.

You can see the differences in the yarn color so it doesn't look so modern.

Blog Flux Directory

Beautiful Walnut

I finished the Mount Vernon Craft Faire with a beautiful walnut yarn and piece of linen. I found that boiling the nuts for an hour was not enough to give a good dark brown. An hour of boiling, as the recipe stated, gave me a tan. So, I boiled the nuts for another 3 hours. The dye from that made a beautiful chocolate brown. The wool can be seen in the bottom left-hand corner of my display. I am really happy with the results.

On the way home I stopped at another black walnut tree and picked up over 100 nuts and will make another batch of dye soon. Perhaps I should wait until Yorktown so that I can use them as props.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mount Vernon Craft Faire

This weekend (16-17 September 2006) is the Mount Vernon Craft Faire. This is the first event that we participated in last year with the 1st Virginia Regiment. The Faire is filled with 18th Century Arts and Crafts along with entertainment and demonstrations.

I have decided this year that on Saturday, I will break from my laundress demonstration and do a dye demonstration using walnuts. I have thought of this because Mike and I rode our bikes to Fort Hunt on Sunday and picked up nine pounds of black walnut husks. Since the dye from fresh husks is more potent, it is better that I get them processed as soon as possible. This weekend will be perfect. I'll start them soaking on Wednesday and they will be ready to boil by Saturday afternoon. What a demonstration that will be. The smell alone should peek people's curiosity.

I have made some small yarn skeins in which to dye of wool and cotton. Tonight I will prepare some linen and wool material samples. I will bring along a sample of my madder red yarn that I dyed a few weeks ago as well as some of the other samples that I have done.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

3d Liberty or Death Cap

Using the yarn that I had in the last madder red dye pot, I am making my third Liberty or Death Cap. This time, since I already had the red yarn, I knitted the letters in. Before, I knitted the caps, dyed them, and then did duplicate stitch to put in the letters in White.

This time I did it different. I used the madder red yarn and the natural yarn and knit the letters in when I knit in the ribbing. I ended up knitting it twice. The first time I only used a single strand of yarn of each color. I didn't like how the letters didn't "pop out" like I thought they should. So, I ripped it out and then used a single strand of red and a double strand of white. You can see by the pictures that the letters really pop with this combination.

I had to put some additional stitches in the purl stitches of the ribbing because I was carrying the white for more than 5 stitches. You can see some of them but I don't think they take away from the actual letters.

I tried to find some knitting graph paper to put my design on for future projects but was unsuccessful. So, I ordered a program which is supposed to print out your designs in graph format. I want to keep this design. I hope the program is easy to use. I am not one to knit with color. Perhaps this program will change my mind.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Finished Liberty Or Death Cap

I finished the Liberty Or Death knitted cap. I believe it is beautiful. I could be a little biased however. We will have to see if the receiver of the cap agrees with my assessment.

Next time I make the hat I am going to have to remember to add a few more stitches to the bottom ribbing to have enough room to fit in the letters in duplicate stitch. The letters are quite close together this time.

This cap came out better than the first one that I made and I am sure that the next one will be even better.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Madder Red

I have knitted a Liberty or Death hat using a natural color wool (Fingering weight) at a 5 stitch per inch gauge.

I dyed it Madder Red today using a recipe from Claude Moore Colonial Farms. First I did a mordant of 1/2 oz tin and 2 ozs of Cream of Tartar. The wet yarn was placed in the mordant and kept at about 160-170 degrees for 1 hour. The yarn was then placed in the dye bath made from 4 ozs of Madder Red root powder. I heated this up to 170-185 degrees for 1 hour. I let the dye bath cool and then washed the hat with lye soap. I placed the yarn and hat into the washing machine, filled it up with cold water, swished it around with my hand, and then put it on spin.

Now I am impatiently waiting for the hat to dry so that I can use duplicate stitch to put in the LIBERTY OR DEATH. This dye job has given me the hat and about 8 ozs of wool yarn for some future project. Perhaps another hat for someone else?

I compared the current Madder Red hat with the Madder Red hat that I made for Mike last year. This Madder Red came out brighter (hard to see in this picture). I am hoping it is because of the time in the mordant. Next time instead of the Tin chips, I am going to try the Tin powder.

The last hat stretched a lot when I dyed it. This time I was very careful when I was moving the hat in the dye bath. This hat didn't stretch or felt at all.

My current project now is a sweater named Caroline using Berroco Zen yarn in color 8215. I have had this yarn for about 5 years. I started a project with it and no longer had the pattern. I had done only about four inches so it was no big deal to rip it out. I have never knit with a ribbon yarn before. It is definetly more difficult than wool - especially if you have to rip out any stitches. I downloaded the pattern free of charge from Borroco Free Patterns.

Mike washed his socks that he wore last weekend. These are one of the pairs that I had knit on the Passap machine. He washed them in the washer. They shrunk up a little and I put them on the sock stretchers that I had just bought to get them back to the size that should fit him.