Forårsrengøring

Om sommeren, når alt står i blomst, samler jeg store bundter af røllike, rejnfan og andre gode farveplanter. Men de skal bruges op inden næste sommer, og det er min forårsrengøring.

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Mit lager af farveemner fra sidste år talte (blandt andet) store bundter af grå bynke og rejnfan, og mere beskedne mængder røllike, en kasse tørret sortfiltet netbladhat og tørrede granatæbleskaller.

Foråret har jo været meget ustadigt, men det er lykkedes mig at komme udenfor med mit lille udendørsblus på forlængerledning og nedbringe vinterlageret.

Først var der sortfiltet netbladhat. Jeg fandt en god mængde af svampen sidste år, over halvdelen af dem da jeg kørte igennem en lille skov, så svampene fra bilen, og hakkede bremsen i!

Jeg havde 190 g tørret svamp. På 100 g uld gav det en fin grøn farve (nedenfor i midten) og efterbadet gav en grøn-beige (højre). Det var umuligt at fange på et billede, men jeg var faktisk positivt overrasket over, hvor godt den tørrede svamp holder på farverne, inklusive den grønne tone. Konklusionen er, at sortfiltet netbladhat er en god farvesvamp både når den er frisk og efter tørring og opbevaring.

Til venstre i billedet nedenfor ligger et beige garnnøgle. Det er 100 g garn, farvet med en stor gryde proppet med tørret grå bynke, og endda efterbehandlet med jern. Det er faktisk anden gang, at jeg får beige fra tørret grå bynke, og her er konklusionen, at man ikke kan tørre det. For længe siden prøvede jeg at farve med den friske plante og fik fine gul-grønne toner.

Fra venstre: tørret grå bynke og jern, tørret sortfiltet netbladhat, 1. og 2. bad.

Så var der granatæbleskallerne. Jeg havde gemt skaller fra beskedne 2 granatæbler, de vejede 85 g tørret. Jeg fulgte Jenny Deans “Wild Colour” og kom skallerne i en pose og smadrede dem med en hammer. Til afprøvningen af det (for mig) nye farveemne lavede jeg to 12-grams nøgler Fenris (100% uld) og et lille 5-grams nøgle Bestla (silke-merino).

Granatæbleskallerne gav fine gule toner på både uld og silke. Det ene nøgle uld efterbehandlede jeg med jern, og det fik en god grønnere og mørkere tone, som ligner den fra den sortfiltede netbladhat en hel del.

Næste gang der bliver spist granatæbler heromkring bliver skallerne gemt. De giver en fin farve, og kommer i vinterens løb hvor der ikke er mange friske farver at gøre godt med.

Granatæbleskaller på silke-merino (bagerst) og uld (midten), og modificeret med jern (forrest).

Flere store bundter røllike, rejnfan og grå bynke blev til den gulbeige bundfarve i en ny omgang matrix-farvet garn til Baby Vindauga kits. Den anden gule bund er vau, og nøglerne er som sædvanelig overfarvet med indigo, så der bliver 9 forskellige farver, blå og grønne toner.

Matrix-farvet uld i blå og grøn.

Og nu hvor jeg var i gang, så blev det også til en matrix i lilla og blå, farvet med cochenille og indigo.

Matrix-farvet uld i lilla og blå.

Matrixnøglerne er blevet til kontrastfarver til nye Baby Vindauga kits, som kan ses i min Etsy shop:

Det lilla-blå Baby Vindauga kit.
Det grøn-blå Baby Vindauga kit.

 

Gult over tid

Et eksperiment med birkeblades farve i sommerens løb. Jeg så ingen forandring over tid – men der er jo heller ingen der har sagt, at alle eksperimenter falder ud som forventet.

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Et friskt nyt år kalder på ny stor serie eksperimenter, men jeg vil lige starte med et gammelt eksperiment, som gik over så lang tid, at jeg aldrig fik skrevet noget om det.

“Nu kan gult jo være så meget forskelligt, så jeg vil ved hver plante betegne den gule farve den giver så nogenlunde. Der vil altid være forskelle, farven er mere grønlig tidligt på året.”

Sådan skriver Ester Nielsen i sin introduktion til de gule farver i “Farvning med planter”. Bogen fra 1972 er fyldt med brugbare oplysninger, men denne her påstand bad ligesom om at blive efterprøvet. Jeg bestemte mig for at bruge birkeblade til efterprøvningen.

Birkeblade. Hvis man ikke vidste det, ville man aldrig gætte, at de indeholder en varm gul farve.

For at prøve efter, om farver virkelig bliver gulere i sæsonens løb lavede jeg to 10-grams testnøgler af supersoft. Hvert af nøglerne farvede jeg med 40 g friske birkeblade, Ester Nielsen anbefaler nemlig 4 gange garnvægten i friske planter (med tørrede planter 2 gange). Første portion blade plukkede jeg 11. maj, anden portion 4. juli.

Resultatet ses nedenfor. Det forreste nøgle er farvet med bladene fra maj, det bagerste med dem fra juli. De har jo næsten samme farve, så mit lille eksperiment her underbygger altså ikke Nielsens påstand…

Uld farvet med friske birkeblade. Det forreste nøgle farvet med blade fra maj, det bagerste med blade fra juli.

For at se, om der ellers var nogen forskel, afprøvede jeg lysægtheden af de to indfarvninger. Men heller ikke her er der nogen forskel på de to tidspunkter. Det eneste jeg lægger mærke til på lysprøven nedenfor er, at lysægtheden er rigtig god i begge tilfælde. Testen har ligget i vindueskarmen over en måned midt på sommeren.

Lystest af ulden farvet med birkeblade fra maj og juli.

Min konklusion er, at det tidspunkt på sommeren, hvor man plukker birkeblade, ikke har nogen indflydelse på farven de giver. Men det er altså for birkeblade. Det er muligt, at variationen fra grønligt til gult i sommerens løb findes for andre planter.

Blå høst (Blue Harvest)

I år har jeg dyrket japansk indigo

This summer, I grew Japanese indigo

japaneseindigoplants

og vajd

and woad

woadplants

i haven for første gang. Jeg høstede alle planterne d. 28. september (allerede længe siden, der har været gang i mange ting her i mellemtiden) undtagen nogle vajdplanter der får lov at stå andet år for at sætte frø.

in the garden for the first time. I harvested all of my plants on September 28th (already a long time ago, lots of stuff has been going on here) except the woad plants I left to let them grow a second year in an attempt to get seeds.

Efter høsten havde jeg 465 g japansk indigo-blade og 433 g vajdblade, begge pillet af plantestænglerne. Og det er da en ganske flot høst, synes jeg, fra mine små stykker land med måske 12 stk. af hver planteart.

After harvest, I had 465 g of Japanese indigo leaves stripped off the stems and 433 g of woad leaves. I’m pleased with this harvest, which came from two rather small patches of land with maybe 12 Japanese indigo plants and a similar number of woad plants.

Jeg fulgte instruktionerne i “A Dyer’s Garden” af Rita Buchanan og hældte vand, der lige var kogt, over vajdbladene (det gav en radiseagtig lugt) og 44C varmt vandhanevand over de japanske indigoblade, som jeg så varmede meget langsomt op til 71C over et vandbad (de afgav en mintagtig lugt).

Following the instructions from “A Dyer’s Garden” by Rita Buchanan, I poured just-boiled water on the woad leaves (it smelled a bit radish-like) and hot (was 44C) tap water on the indigo leaves, then heated them slowly on a double boiler to 71C. It smelled a bit minty almost.

Så siede jeg bladene fra og kom base i, her natriumkarbonat. Det var den base der lige stod i skabet (og det virker til at være ligegyldigt hvilken base man bruger, det vigtige er bare at pH’en skal op). Jeg kom 2 spsk i hver af mine gryder.

At that point, you strain the leaves out of the dye bath and add base. I used what I happened to have around the house, which was sodium carbonate (it seems that the actual base used doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you must raise the pH). I added 2 spoonfuls to each dye pot.

Og så sker magien! Ved at hælde farvebadet fra den ene beholder til den anden blander man ilt i, og det oxiderer indican til den blå form af indigomolekylet. I dette trin ændrede vajd-badet farve fra rødbrun til mørkegrøn og der kom et blågrønt skum på. Badet af japansk indigo skiftede til en klassisk indigoblå farve med et dejligt blåt skum på:

Then comes the magic! By pouring the dye bath several times from one container to another, you introduce oxygen, which oxidizes the precursor indican into the blue form of the indigo molecule. During this step, my woad dye bath changed from reddish brown to dark green and developed a blue-green foam, and the Japanese indigo bath changed to a classical indigo blue with this lovely blue foam on top:

oxidizedindigo

Efter oxidationen tilsatte jeg en skefuld natrium dithionit (reduktionsmiddel, sælges som affarver i Matas) til hvert farvebad og lod dem stå uden at røre indtil de skiftede farve til den gulgrønne tone, som reduceret indigo har. Det tog omkring en halv time. Og så var det endelig tid til at farve – jeg lod mit garn være i farvebadet ca. 20 minutter.

After oxidation, I added one spoonful of sodium dithionite (reducing agent) to each dye bath and let them stand undisturbed until they presented the yellow-green tinge that they should, which took about half an hour. Then it was time to dye! I left my yarn in the dye bath for about 2o minutes.

Som forventet var der meget mindre farve i vajd-badet, som jeg kun farvede et 100-g’s nøgle med. Jeg farvede 3 nøgler med den japanske indigo, og det sidste af dem var lige så mørkt farvet som det ene nøgle fra vajden.

As expected, there was much less color in the woad bath, which I only used for one 100 g skein. The Japanese indigo bath dyed 3 100 g skeins, and the last one was as intensely colored as the woad skein.

Så prøvede jeg at farve med bladene af både vajd og japansk indigo på små testnøgler (a 10 g) som var behandlet med alun. Jeg brugte en helt almindelig farvemetode, altså bare i et varmt, ikke kogende, farvebad en time. Og her er så alle nøglerne, jeg farvede:

I then tried the used leaves of both the woad and Japanese indigo on 10-g test skeins of alum mordanted wool, using a standard dyeing method (so just keeping it hot but not boiling for an hour). And here they all are:

indigowool

Nederst – gulgrønt nøgle er japansk indigo-blade på alunbejdset uld, det beige-laksefarvede nøgle lige over er vajdblade på alunbejdset uld. Så kommer de 3 nøgler farvet med japansk indigo, det første/mørkeste er det nederste. Allerøverst nøglet der er farvet med vajd – man kan måske skimte det grønne skær i det blå.

Bottom – yellow/green skein is Japanese indigo leaves on alum mordanted wool, the tan/beige one above is woad leaves on alum mordanted wool. Then the 3 skeins dyed with Japanese indigo, the first and darkest one is the lower one. Finally on top, the skein dyed with woad, maybe you can see its slightly green tinge mixed into the blue.

Når jeg nu beundrer disse farver, som jeg ikke bare har farvet, men også selv groet i haven, så føler jeg altså en vis stolthed. Og så er min respekt for den blå farve blevet fornyet. Jeg tror, at jeg nu påskønner hvilket besvær folk gik igennem i fortiden for farvens skyld.

Konklusionen er, at jeg helt sikkert vil gro japansk indigo igen næste år. Vajd er jeg dog ikke så sikker på – farveindholdet er altså markant mindre.

Seeing these colors that I not only just dyed, but also grew in my garden, I feel such a sense of accomplishment!!! And I have a renewed respect for blue. Imagine the trouble people went through in the past to get this color.

Conclusion: I will be growing Japanese indigo again next year for sure. I’m not sure about woad, since the dye content is a lot smaller.

 

 

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Reed Flowers

lakereeds

Reed flowers are in season! I took the photo above on a beautiful August day at the lake. The sound of the wind through the reeds is positively mind-cleansing, which apparently I’m not the only one to think, judging by the number of YouTube videos of just that phenomenon. So now you too can enjoy it, even if you are in a skyscraper somewhere:

But I can promise you there was nothing mind-cleansing about my search for this dyestuff. They often grow a little bit out into the water, in places that are a bit hard to reach. I found a good patch of them growing in shallow water, I just had to cross a small forest. It looked fine, but it was actually a bottomless swamp, which I sank into to mid-thigh. Afterwards, I was a bit shocked, but otherwise fine! And I picked about 100 g of the silky soft, discreetly burgundy colored flowers: reedflowers

I rushed them to the dye pot – you have to use them fresh – and this is what I got on 20 g of supersoft in the first bath, 10 g in the second: first a lovely green, then a cold yellow:

reeddyedwool

FACTS – FRESH REED FLOWERS

Mordant 10% alun

Water Tap

Yarn Supersoft 575 m/100 g

Yarn:Dyestuff ratio 5:1 in first bath, 10:1 in second

Conclusion I love this green color, it’s beautiful and has a good light-fastness

Possible improvements The only one I can really think of is, that reeds should spontaneously grow in places that are easier to reach for the natural dyer

Last summer, I collected reed flowers while on holiday, and brought them home with me. I didn’t know that you have to put them fresh into the dye pot. The results were pleasing enough, although more towards yellow than green.

I have knit with the reed flower dyed wool from last year, and used the remaining scraps for light testing. These were on the windowsill for about a month from mid July to mid August. With this daylight calculator and a simple spreadsheet, I find that the samples for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bath of 2014 reed flowers got 572, 497, and 481 hours of daylight, respectively (since they spent the intervals 9/7-15/8, 10/7-11/8, and 11/7-11/8 on the windowsill). This is what they look like afterwards: the left side of each card has been covered, and the right side exposed:

reedflowerslighttest

A very good result indeed. You can tell that the paper has yellowed slightly from the exposure, but the yarn has only changed very slightly. The change is towards the yellow, so the green component seems to fade, but the color intensity is quite unchanged.

Tagrørsblomster er i sæson! For de første er de smukke når de svajer i vinden, synet og lyden er simpelthen mentalhygiejne. For det andet er selve blomsterne også smukke – silkebløde og skinnende bordeaux. Men for det tredje og vigtigste, så er de en virkelig god naturfarve. De kan give den svært opnåelige “grøn i et trin uden overfarvning med indigo” og ifølge mine tests er lysægtheden ganske glimrende.

 

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Wild Chervil and Intentionally Wild

The other day, we went for a walk along the road, and found wild chervil, also known as cow parsley, poetically as Queen Anne’s lace, and systematically as Anthriscus sylvestris. It was growing bountifully there, so it’s certainly lucky that I have such a good little helper for these tasks:

pickingwildcarrot

I picked 180 g of stalks with flowers, which I boiled immediately for an hour or so. Next day, when the extract had cooled off, I strained out all the plant material and added a 10 g test skein of alun mordanted wool. The resulting color is very pretty, more yellow than green (yarn in photo, at least on my screen, looks more yellow than it really is).

dyedwildcarrot

FACTS – WILD CHERVIL, FRESH

Mordant 10% alun

Water Tap

Yarn Supersoft 575 m/100 g

Yarn:Dyestuff ratio 1:18

Conclusion Nice yellow with green tinge

Possible improvements Looks good to me! But it would be nice to see if a smaller amount of dyestuff will still give good color

So then what remains is to test the light-fastness. If that looks good, I’ll be tempted to dye larger amounts another time. Probably next summer, because by the time I can test it, the plant is gone for the season.

I’m always surprised with the treasures that the roadside has to offer. In terms of plants and the dyes in them, I mean (there’s also a lot of empty beer bottles and candy wrappers to be sure). And now we are getting to the big point that I want to hammer home in this post: roadside biodiversity, and the lack of it!

The top photo of my daughter picking wild chervil looks like it’s been taken in well, nature. In actual fact, it’s in front of a truck terminal, by the side of a busy country road where lots of big tucks pass. Not far away, you find an off ramp from major highway in this area. And just look at the place in the picture. Tall grass. I spotted more that 15 species growing, without even looking.

I am always pleasantly surprised by bits of untamed land like this. The good people in the truck terminal may think that they are just saving a bit of money, but what they are really doing is allowing biodiversity.

The other day, I heard something on the radio about a new project here in Denmark. It’s called “vild med vilje” which translates into “intentionally wild”. It’s a project that promotes urban biodiversity by – here’s the big thing – providing you with a sign that you can place on your wild land. The text reads “vild med vilje”. So now, busy neighbors and other local busybodies can see that this was on purpose, and not somebody who didn’t keep their land “nice”. They may even go check the project website. They may start thinking about biodiversity themselves. They may use less Roundup. The project is still very small, but I do hope it grows! I would love to see more wilderness. It’s good for many species, including the natural dyer.

Jeg har – med god hjælp fra min datter – plukket vild kørvel og testet det i farvegryden. Det giver en dejlig gul-grøn, som jeg vil teste lysægtheden af. Hvis den er god, så skal der helt klart samles mere næste år. Den vilde kørvel gror overalt lige nu, juni, i vejkanter, der ikke er slået. Sammen med en hel masse andre plantearter, som giver et helle for insekter og fugle. Alt det kræver er, at folk holder den store industri-græsslåmaskine og roundup’en i ro! Forleden hørte jeg om et nyt projekt, vild med vilje, som arbejder for sådan nogle naturlige ånderum i byerne. Jeg håber de får stort held med det!

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Gradient Hat

I’m in hat knitting mode right now! As soon as this hat was finished, I had the next one on the needles. The pattern, a Danish one called “hue 1” (that just means hat 1, the book has more than one hat) really makes my brain go berserk with color scheme after color scheme.

hatfromside

I’ve cheated a bit since I didn’t only use naturally dyed yarns for this project: the black background consists of different commercial yarns from my stash.

FACTS – GRADIENT HAT
Pattern hat 1 by Lone Gissel and Tine Rousing, Nordiske masker
Yarn Supersoft 100% wool 575 m/100 g (plus some commercial stuff)
Needle 4.5 mm
Colors Privet berries (from our garden, winter) Indigo + tansy (bought + collected from the roadside, summer) Reed flowers on grey yarn (collected from the seaside, summer) Yarrow (collected from the roadside, summer) Mixed lichens (collected in the forest – this was bits and pieces I couldn’t type and in the end just swept into the dye pot) Parmelia sulcata (a lichen, collected in the forest) Dyer’s polypore (Phaeolus schweinitzii) (a mushroom, collected in the forest, fall).
Conclusion Love it! The colors, the fit, the fox fur
hatalone
It’s often been said that any naturally dyed colors fit together, and I do think that is the case. I did take some care lining up colors that blended well one into the other, but they were not very hard to find in my big basket.
Another observation: I think natural dyeing is the best kind of yarn tourism. When I look at the hat and its colors, I’m immediately taken back to the places where I collected the dye stuffs.Well, not so much the privet berries from our garden, but other wonderful places we walked during the nicest months of 2014.Just one example. The reed flowers are from our august summer vacation in the southern part of Denmark, right on the border with Germany. I picked my flowers by the ocean, and I just had some fun trying to find the exact spot on the map. And I did it! The exact coordinates are 54.894576, 9.626491, and you can even see the mass of reed growing there when you use the max zoom of the map… Right next to a tiny harbor where you can stand on the planks and watch crabs hurrying around on the bottom. And when you look over the water, you can see Germany. Imagine, all that worn on a hat in the form of a stripe of yellow-green yarn!
Mønsteret til hatten er er fra Nordiske Masker af Lone Gissel og Tine Rousing, og det mønster bliver ved med at køre rundt i mit hovede i forskellige farvekombinationer! Her har jeg strikket den på en sort baggrund som er fabriksgarn, jeg havde liggende. Regnbuen fra grøn til varm gul er mine egne naturfarvede nøgler.

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Welcome!

I have long been fascinated with the colors that one can achieve using the dyes that nature provides. There is an endless experimentation that can be tried, and to chronicle my many experiments, I’ve decided to start writing about it here. That will also allow myself to keep track!
Over the summer and fall of 2014, I went on MANY walks, collected MANY plants, mushrooms, and lichens, and dyed MANY 10 g test skeins. A peak inside my secret basket:
basket
I wanted to try knitting with my test skeins, to test how the yarn behaves – to check that my mordanting didn’t make it brittle or that I had fulled it by overheating! So I made this Fair Isle hat, and my yarn was very enjoyable to knit with:
hathead
hat
FACTS – OXO HAT
Pattern King Harald Hats by Ann Feitelson, The Art of Fair Isle Knitting
Yarn Supersoft 100% wool 575 m/100 g
Needle 2.5 mm
Colors Madder (bought) Cochineal (bought) Mugwort (collected from the roadside, summer) Boletes (collected from the forest, fall) Dahlias (grown in our garden, collected in fall)

Conclusion The hat is a bit big but the colors really match each other well

yarn
Left to right: beige (boletes) light yellow-green (mugwort) red (madder) brown (dahlias) pink (cochineal) red (madder) yellow-green (mugwort).
Velkommen til Midgaard bloggen – stedet hvor jeg vil skrive om mine mange eksperimenter indenfor naturfarvning. Hatten her har jeg strikket af en god håndfuld af mine mange test-nøgler for at tjekke deres kvalitet efter farvning og for at se hvordan de er at strikke med.

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