Friday, April 29, 2016

Rhubarb Leaves in the Dye Pot

Last week I was told about rhubarb leaves being used to dye wool yellow. This time of year is the perfect time to try it with the bed of rhubarb bursting, so I got out the dye pot, boiled some leaves and waited.

I did learn that it is mostly the rhubarb root that yields yellow. Well, I really like my rhubarb and didn't want to dig up any roots, so the leaves would have to do. Another thing I learned is that rhubarb is a natural mordant. Cool. I chopped a lot of leaves and boiled them down. Instructions I read were all about the ratio of leaves to wool yardage. Um, I just filled the pot with leaves and then covered with water and boiled. I cooked them for about an hour or maybe two. I got busy with other things and kinda forgot about them. After they cooled, I strained the pot. You can see the yellow tinted water in the pot.

There were several warnings, since rhubarb leaves are poisonous, about ventilating the room. 

I used well water but that isn't recommended. I soaked the wool fabric in water and a bit of Dawn dish soap before dyeing. It helps the fabric absorb more dye. I also heated the pot in the oven rather on the stovetop. The dye water never did turn clear even after soaking overnight with vinegar added. Truly an experiment. I liked the soft color that came from the leaves but it isn't much of a yellow. Definitely tan. Maybe aged yellow. It was surprising to me to see the drastic change of the gray fabric that was in the dye pot. Since both pictures show the wool in the same order you can compare.

The wool from this dye pot will get used for sure. It's very soft and pleasing. Yellow? Not this time.

However, look at these beauties! All purchased at the Hook-In last week. Amish Country Wool Artisans host a great hook-in every year in Berlin, Ohio. These wools came from two of the vendors; Thy Shepherd's Wool by Kathy Skinner and Heavens to Betsy by Betsy Reed. Love all of them. Can't wait to create. We need a palette (stash), right?!

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