More Dyes!

My natural dye project at school is finally done. I don’t know if I can let go though, I’m not happy with the lesson yet, and I could be teaching it for another 7.5 years! (Assuming Penelope goes all the way through PACT and I don’t get tired of teaching Arts Focus.) At this point it is a good science experiment, but I think maybe it needs to be more arty? If the kids can use their dyed yarn to weave with, then I should be okay with that I guess. That is the goal, but I think they may all hoard. Maybe I’m not making the connection properly. It’s hard, we run three projects simultaneously, and rotate through them, so although I designed all three of them, I only really ‘teach’ one. So I’m having a hard time tweaking!

Do you see that red? That is the shocker from this experiment. That was not supposed to happen. Beets are not supposed to be good dyes, they are supposed to wash out to a beige! I think it is possibly because I was doing room temperature dying? Maybe it breaks down with your typical simmer? Maybe it is just a ‘stain’ and if I put it in with the laundry, it will wash out to beige. Although now the internet hive-mind is telling me it will even work on cotton treated with vinegar. That’s not what my yarn is telling me. This is why I have to keep doing these experiments, because the answer is never what I expect! My kitchen has been taken over!


I cut up the plants in the left column of the chart, added 1T vinegar, and 1c boiling water, 10″ cotton and 10″ wool, and let them sit for a week at room temperature. The first column of yarn is wool, the second is the cotton, ignore the partial third column, I think I may have done some re-heating in the microwave after the initial observation.

If you can’t read the plants they are: 1T grape juice, 2 (fall) grape leaves, 1 walnut hull, 1/8t turmeric, 1T frozen blueberries, 1 bag decaf lipton, 1 bag Republic of Tea hibiscus, 1 2×4″ onion skin (needs more), 4 sprigs dried carrot top (works much better with alum), 2 black hollyhock blossoms, 8 alder cones, 8 blackberries, 1T coffee, 1/2 red avocado pit, 1/4c beet, 1/4 Haas avocado peel, 1 bag nettle tea.

So there you go. Can you tell that Arts Focus has started? My blog has gone silent! Oh well. I finally closed my Etsy store, permanent vacation really, so that is one less thing to worry about in the back of my head. Warping the large loom for class took me 3 hours… I’ve been busy!

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