Dyeing Chunky Yarn
I really liked a swatch I had designed last trimester - a hand knitted piece constructed in a modular fashion with different textures and naturally dyed colours of British Wool yarns. I felt the colour palette was a bit drab (image on left), and so I wanted to brighten the colours a little using alternative dye stuffs.
I bought similar yarns to before to ensure a good variety of textures: Super Chunky Bluefaced Leicester from Laxtons Yarns, Wool City Wool Bella Pure British Wool Roving and Wool City Wool Super Chunky British Wool from Airedale Yarns.
The colours/dye recipes that remained the same were: walnut x 2 (one skein dyed after another in the same dye bath to give a deep brown and a beige) and pomegranate (1 fruit skin destined for the compost bin soaked in water for 3 days) and onion skin.
According to p118 of Wild Colour, a pale grey/purple can be achieved with crushed oak galls on alum mordanted wool and an iron modifier. Unfortunately, I added the wrong skein to the dye pot and got a deep purple from an non-mordanted skein (middle image below)! It made a lovely shade of purple, but wasn't what I was looking for, and so I had to repeat the process with an alum mordanted skein to acheieve a pale grey/lilac hue. I ensured to only use a small amount of iron so as not to damage the wool, and retained the liquid to use again at a later date/dispose of safely.
The final skein was dyed with some leftover chlorophyllin extract to produce a bright, but not too bright green. I'm planning to hand knit a modular garment with these yarns, using a rough shape as a pattern but making the placement and size of each section random.
Dean, J. 1999. Wild Colour. London: Octopus.