A partial Earthues Botanical Dye Kit kit found its way to my desk last weekend and I jumped on the chance to dye a little bit of an enormous fleece I bought at last year’s Black Sheep Gathering. There was enough cutch left in the packet to dye about 3/4 of a pound of fiber. So, in the pot it went with some Alum as a premordant and then once more into the pot with the powdered cutch for a few hours on a hot stove.
I love dyeing in the summer because I can pop my huge stock pot on the stove and open the back door to get a lovely breeze blowing through the kitchen. It’s nice and easy to dry all that wool in the summer too. I like to drape it on my clothes drying rack under a tree in the shade. The site of all that colorful wool in the yard on a beautiful day always brings a little smile out.
I’ve found that there is a delightful wildness about dyeing with natural plant dyes. With cutch for example, you could get a range of colors from a soft caramel to a coffee brown, depending upon the mordant, your water, wool, time, strength of the dye bath, etc. I love the little surprise when I pull the wool out of the dye bath for the first time and the second thrill after the wool is dry and settled in to the color it will stay.
I tossed my 3/4 pound of wool into the pot and cleaned the house while I waited for the magic to brew. I’m so happy with the milky caramel color that I got, especially when I put it next to a bat of the same wool that has yet to be dyed. It doesn’t look like much of a difference alone, but next to an undyed bit of the same fiber the difference is breathtaking.
I have so much wool left and I can’t wait to try the other packets in the Earthues Botanical Dye Kit. Especially that logwood grey!