Rød krap

Krap er en af de allerældste farver, og er beskrevet i stort set alle bøger om naturfarvning. Men alle bøgerne giver forskellige metoder til at opnå den eftertragtede, mættede kraprøde farve. Der er kun en ting at gøre – eksperimentere!

En buket af krapfarvede garnnøgler. De er alle farvet på forskellig måde, så farverne er blevet forskellige.

Krap var faktisk en af de første naturfarver, jeg prøvede kræfter med, for nu mange år siden. Jeg fulgte “Colours from Nature” af Jenny Dean, som var den første farvebog, jeg anskaffede mig (nu har jeg selvfølgelig et helt bibliotek).

Dean opgiver en opskrift for lidt større stykker af kraprod, ikke pulveriseret rod. Hun skyller først i koldt vand, så i kogende vand, og kommer først derefter det vand på, som bliver til selve farvebadet. I mine tidlige forsøg med krap forsøgte jeg at følge den metode, men fik i flere forsøg kun en serie af laksefarver. Nogle gange i rosa retning, nogle gange mere i orange retning.

Efter mine tidlige forsøg var jeg klar til at give op. Laksefarvet var ikke ligefrem min yndlingsfarve. Jeg lod faktisk naturfarvning ligge i nogle år, men faldt så et par gange i snak med farvere på jernalder- og vikingemarkeder. En af dem fortalte mig, at hun altid fik klare røde farver med krap ved at bruge destilleret vand.

Derefter fik jeg fat i Ester Nielsens klassiske bog fra 1972, “Farvning med planter”. Nielsen skriver at rødderne skal udblødes i et døgn, og hun nævner ikke noget om udskiftning af vandet. Hun nævner heller ikke noget om hvilken slags vand hun bruger. Efterhånden kom jeg frem til en variant af Nielsens fremgangsmåde, med regnvand i stedet for destilleret vand, fordi regnvand er gratis. Jeg lader krappen stå i blød natten over i farvegryden, tilsætter alun-bejdset garn, varmer langsomt op til 55 grader og pakker så gryden ind i et tæppe og lader den stå til næste dag. Garn og rødder er altså i gryden sammen, og der bliver kun brugt et hold vand.

Med den metode har jeg mange gange fået den klare røde, som man er ude efter. Men mange gange er farven også endt i mere orange toner, som f. eks. garnet til huen her:

Brisingamen-huen i krapfarvet garn.

Jeg kan godt lide orange, men det er den røde, som er det ypperligste fra krappen. Desuden er jeg blevet mere og mere forvirret, jo mere jeg har læst om farvning med krap, og jeg er ikke den eneste. Dean bruger som nævnt varm ekstraktion (altså udblødning i et hold vand, som kasseres) mens andre, f. eks. Ecotone Threads bruger en kold ekstraktion.

Krap indeholder mange forskellige farvestoffer. Ifølge “Handbook of Natural Colorants” af Berchtold & Mussak, så er der påvist mere end 35 forskellige anthraquinoner i krap (anthraquinoner er den type af molekyler, som alizarin, det vigtigste røde farvestof i krap, også hører til). De forskellige stoffer har lidt forskellig farve, og meningen med en (kold eller varm) ekstraktion skulle altså være, at man fjerner  gule og brunlige farver.

Jeg bestemte mig for at afprøve, om jeg kunne komme mine orange toner til livs med ekstraktion. Jeg brugte mine sædvanelige 12-grams testnøgler af Fenris (100% uld), som jeg bejdsede med 10% alun. I alle tilfælde brugte jeg 12 g pulveriseret krap pr. nøgle, og lod krappen blive i farvegryden hele tiden. Nogle få forfattere skriver, at man skal fjerne den før selve farvningen, men de fleste er enige om, at krappen skal blive i gryden

Ifølge Liles’ “The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing”, så er alizarin kun ganske lidt opløseligt i vand, og derfor giver det god mening at lade krappen blive i gryden. Så kan der langsomt opløses mere alizarin efterhånden som det opløste bliver bundet til garnet. Jeg farvede også i alle tilfælde ved at varme krap og garn op til ca 55 grader, holde temperaturen i 1 time, og lade garnet stå i farvebadet til næste dag.

I mit lille eksperiment afprøvede jeg følgende, både med regnvand og med vandhanevand: at sætte krappen i blød natten over og farve uden at skrifte vandet ud, at sætte krappen i blød natten over i koldt vand, filtrere det fra og farve i et nyt hold vand, og endelig at hælde kogende vand over krappen og så farve i et nyt hold vand.

Filtrering af en lille testmængde krap i et gammeldags kaffefilter.

Resultaterne ses nedenfor:

1: Krap sat i blød natten over i regnvand og garnet farvet uden at skifte vandet ud.

2: Krap sat i blød natten over i vandhanevand og garnet farvet uden at skifte vandet ud.

3: Krap sat i blød natten over i regnvand, filtrering, garnet farvet i et nyt hold regnvand.

4: Gennemløbet fra 3 (alså den væske der løb igennem filteret).

5: Krap sat i blød natten over i vandhanevand, filtrering, garnet farvet i et nyt hold vandhanevand.

6: Gennemløbet fra 5 (alså den væske der løb igennem filteret).

7: Kogende vand hældt over krappen, filtrering med det samme, garnet farvet i et nyt hold regnvand.

8: Kogende vand hældt over krappen, filtrering med det samme, garnet farvet i et nyt hold vandhanevand.

9: Gennemløbet fra 7 (ikke gentaget for 8, da det ville være identisk).

Testens resultat, se forklaring over billedet.

Nøgle 1 er farvet med et hold regnvand, og det er den metode, jeg plejer at bruge. Heldigvis er nøgle 1 en af de gode røde i testen. Nøgle 2 er samme metode, men med vandhanevand. Nøgle 1 er kun lidt rødere end nøgle 2, så brug af regn eller vandhanevand har åbenbart ikke den store betydning, som jeg ellers troede. Jeg målte pH i begge badene, og de var begge to neutrale efter at have stået natten over.

Nøgle 3 og 5 er farvet med krap, der stod i blød natten over, hvor jeg fjernede det første hold vand. Hvis det var rigtigt, at sådan en kold iblødsætning fjernede gule og brune farver, så skulle der være forskel på nøgle 1 og 3 (begge farvet i regnvand) og nøgle 2 og 5 (begge farvet i vandhanevand), men det er der ikke. Min konklusion er altså, at en kold ekstraktion ikke fjerner gule og brune farver.

Den konklusion virker også rigtig, når man kigger på nøgle 4 (regn) og 6 (vandhane), som er farvet med gennemløbet fra 3 og 5. Hvis ekstraktionen fjernede gul og brun, så skulle nøgle 4 og 6 jo have de farver, men det har de ikke. De er koral/laksefarvede, som netop er de farver, jeg plejer at få i efterbade. Det passer altså med, at den kolde ekstraktion bare fjerner lidt af den samlede farve, der er til stede i krappen.

Endelig er der den varme ekstraktion. Nøgle 7 (regn) og 8 (vandhane) er farvet med nye hold vand, efter at jeg lavede den varme ekstraktion. De er ret svagt farvet, i toner som nærmest er identisk med farverne på nøgle 4 og 6. Det meste af farven er altså tilsyneladende væk efter den varme ekstraktion, og er endt i gennemløbet, som nøgle 9 er farvet med.

Nøgle 9 har en god kraftig rød-orange farve, som egentlig ikke er en overraskelse. Temperaturen er nemlig stort set det eneste, alle forfattere er enige om. Den må ikke blive for høj, for så kommer orange eller teglfarvede toner frem, og det er det, jeg ser her. Hvis lysægtheden skulle vise sig at være god, så er det varme gennemløb faktisk en god måde at farve orange på.

Det er også rart at se, at min lille test her passer med de allertidligste forsøg, jeg gjorde på at farve med krap. Deans metode svarer jo til nøgle 8, en bleg laksefarve, som vil være en skuffelse hvis man er ude efter rød.

Så opsummeringen af mit lille forsøgs konklusioner er:

Der er ikke ret stor forskel på de røde farver fra regnvand og vandhanevand, regnvandet giver en rød, som kun er en lille smule bedre end vandhanevandet. Denne konklusion gælder mit vandhanevand, og kan være helt anderledes andre steder.

Kold ekstraktion er ikke effektiv til at fjerne gule farver, og varm ekstraktion fjerner nærmest al farven.

Jeg plejer at holde temperaturen omkring 55 grader, men jeg har ikke selv tjekket, hvor følsom farven egentlig er overfor højere temperatur. Og jeg har overhovedet ikke taget pH og kalkindhold med i denne omgang. Det skal mine næste eksperimenter handle om.

Nedfalds-lav

Nedfalds-lav er perfekt til naturfarvning, det gør nemlig ingen skade at samle det nedfaldne lav op – det kan alligevel ikke gro videre. Tue-grenlav er en af de almindelige arter, som også er let at genkende.

~

Når jeg går tur på blæsende regnvejrsdage finder jeg tit masser af lav, der ligger spredt på jorden under træer. Lav, som vinden har flået af grenene. Efter en god storm har jeg nogle gange fyldt alle mine lommer plus tilfældige skraldeposer med sådan noget nedfalds-lav. Det skønneste nedfald, med den fantastiske duft som kun lav har.

Indsamling af nedfalds-lav gør ingen skade, for lav-totter, der er flået ned kan alligevel ikke vokse videre. Så det er den bedste (nogle vil sige den eneste) måde at finde lav til farvning. Når jeg kommer hjem med sådan en skat plejer jeg at sprede lavet ud på en bakke til tørring (så det ikke bliver muggent).

Nedfalds-lav tørrer. Det ser ud til at være et stort stykke Evernia pruniastri til venstre, til højre Ramalina fastigiata for oven og formodentligt en art Parmelia for neden.

Før man kan farve med nedfaldslavet, er det nødvendigt at sortere det og bestemme arterne. Med nogle arter skal man nemlig bruge en simpel kogning i vand (BWM), mens andre skal trække i ammoniak:

Kogning i vand er selvfølgelig det letteste. Lavet simres i vand og køler af. Garn tilsættes til dette farvebad, og opvarmes en timestid uden at koge.

Ammoniakmetoden er noget mere besværlig. Lavet trækker i 1% ammoniak (oprindeligt brugte man gammel urin) i flere uger eller måneder. Glasset rystes og åbnes dagligt for at ilte væsken. Den røde væske bruges til sidst som farvebad.

I begge metoder er det unødvendigt at bejdse garnet, da lavets farver er substantive (de kan altså binde direkte til uldfiberen uden bejdsning).

Lav, der trækker i 1% ammoniak.

For at kunne artsbestemme lav købte jeg for nylig Frank S. Dobsons bog “Lichens, An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species”. Den indeholder en god introduktion til lav, og en detaljeret bestemmelsesnøgle med beskrivelser og fotografier.

Med Dobson i hånden har jeg tænkt mig at kigge lidt nærere på de slags lav, der typisk falder ned fra træerne heromkring. Altså, hvordan man genkender dem, hvilken farvemetode der skal bruges, og hvilke farver det giver.

Jeg begynder her med den slags lav, der måske er allerlettest at genkende, og også meget almindelig: Ramalina fastigiata, eller tue-grenlav. Den falder tit ned i større totter, som er helt dækket af udvækster, der ligner små sugekopper. Det er apothecier, som er lavets frugtlegemer. De laver kønnede sporer, som kun indeholder lavets svampedel. Når de spreder sig og spirer et nyt sted skal de mødes med en ny alge for at blive til et nyt lav-individ. Men alt det behøver farveren strengt taget ikke at bekymre sig om, bare man kan genkende apothecierne.

Et stykke Ramalina fastigiata, som er helt dækket af apothecier. Sådan nogle totter kan være op til ca. 5 cm.

I “Lichen Dyes, The New Source Book”opfører Karen D. Casselman Ramalina-arterne på listen over laver, hvor man skal bruge ammoniakmetoden.

Jeg har tidligere afprøvet denne metode med Ramalina fastigiata, og fik en lys rosa farve (billeder her).

Men Ramalina-arterne står faktisk også på listen over de arter, hvor man kan bruge den simple varmtvandsmetode. Derfor afprøvede jeg den simple metode med lige mængder Ramalina fastigiata og garn, men det gav absolut ingen farve (ingen billeder!). Konklusionen er, at Ramalina fastigiata hører strengt til ammoniak-arterne.

Vindauga Baby

Temaet fra mit Vindauga-tæppe blev ved med at køre rundt i mit hovede efter at jeg strikkede det første tæppe, og det krævede simpelthen at blive strikket i nogle flere varianter! Da designprincippet i Vindauga stødte sammen med mine forsøg med at farve 2-dimensionelle gradienter (eller matricer) endte det med Vindauga babytæppet, som jeg nu endelig er færdig med at skrive mønsteret til.

Mønstret kan købes på Etsy eller på Ravelry. Jeg har desuden farvet et lille antal kits, som er i min Etsy Shop, i farverne Sif (lilla-blå med cochenille og indigo – udsolgt), Valkyrie (rød-blå med krap og indigo) og Njord (grøn-blå med vau, grå bynke og indigo).

The design theme from my Vindauga Blanket just stayed in my brain after I knit the first one, demanding to be knit in more variations! And when that design theme met with my experiments in 2-dimensional gradients (or matrices), the result was the Vindauga Baby Blanket, which I’ve finally managed to publish the pattern for.

You can buy the Vindauga Baby Blanket pattern on Etsy or Ravelry. I’ve also dyed a small number of kits, you can find them at my Etsy shop. The colorways are Sif (purple-blue dyed with cochineal and indigo – sold out), Valkyrie (red-blue dyed with madder and indigo) and Njord (green-blue dyed with weld, mugwort, and indigo).

Fra et sæt af 9 nøgler matrix-farvet garn (til venstre) til Vindauga babytæppet. From a set of 9 skeins of matrix-dyed yarn (on the left) to the Vindauga baby blanket.

Mønsteret er skrevet, teststrikket, rettet, rettet og rettet, og endelig skrevet helt færdigt på dansk og engelsk. Jeg indrømmer blankt, at selve det at lave mønsteret færdigt ikke er min yndlingsdel af processen fra ide til udgivet mønster. Men uden at få taget sig sammen og lavet det helt færdigt, så ender det jo netop bare som en ide i mit hovede.

Til gengæld er det fantastisk sjovt at matrixfarve mini-nøglerne i 9 farver i glidende overgang. Jeg har efterhåndet arbejdet med disse 2-dimensionelle gradienter et  stykke tid, men jeg synes, det bliver ved med at være svært at få dem helt rigtige!

Først farver jeg gradienter af røde, pink eller gule farver med krap, cochenille, vau, rejnfan eller grå bynke, så jeg har 3 nøgler af hver indfarvning. Bagefter overfarver jeg med en gradient af indigo, så hver af de 3 nøgler i en indfarvning får en forskellig indigo-overfarvning. Det lyder måske ikke så svært, men begge trin er faktisk svære at styre.

Med cochenille og krap giver 1. bad altid meget mere farve end 2. bad, men nogle gange giver 2. og 3. bad stort set samme farve. I indigo-overfarvningen er det også svært at styre hvor mørk farven bliver, for der er flere faktorer i spil. En ting er hvor længe nøglerne bliver dyppet, en anden hvor mange gange. Men der er også mængden af indigo i gryden, som ændrer sig efterhånden. Selv om jeg har lavet matrix-farvningerne mange gange nu, så er det stadig en udfordring!

I’ve now written the pattern, had it test knit, and corrected over and over again. It’s finished, and now published in Danish and English. I’ll be the first to admit that actually finishing a pattern is not my favorite part of the process from idea to pattern. But if I don’t pull myself together at some point, then my ideas end up as just that – ideas in my head.

But dyeing the matrix mini skeins is a lot of fun. I’ve worked with these 2-dimensional gradients for some time now, but it’s still difficult to get them just exactly right!

First, I dye gradients of red, pink, or red with madder, cochineal, weld, tansy, or mugwort. I make 3 skeins of each. Then, I overdye with an indigo gradient, giving each of the 3 identical skeins a different indigo overdye. This may not sound difficult, but both steps are hard to control.

When dyeing with cochineal and madder, I find that the first bath always gives a more intense color than the second one. But sometimes, the second and third give about the same. It’s also difficult to control the exact shade of blue with indigo dyeing. One factor is how long you dip skeins in indigo, another factor is the number of dips. But the amount of available indigo in the vat also changes over time. Even after making many sets of matrix dyed skeins, it’s still a challenge!

indigo overdye
De røde, gule og hvide nøgler ligger i blød til venstre, til højre er tilsvarende nøgler kommet i indigo-badet. Temperaturen er 52 grader, pH er 9-10. Der er styr på det hele! Yellow, red, and white skeins soaking on the left. On the right, similar skeins in an indigo bath. The temperature is 52 degrees, pH is 9-10. Everything is under control!

Se projekter på Ravelry:

See projects on Ravelry:

 

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Årets svampefarvning 2015 (Mushroom Dyeing of 2015)

allesvampefarver2

Nu har vi sagt farvel til 2015 og goddag 2016, men jeg kan vist godt lige nå at vise jer de svampefarver, som 2015-høsten bragte.

2015 is history, and it’s now 2016, but I think there’s just time to show you my mushroom dyeing of 2015, which brought a quite nice mushroom harvest.

Efteråret er og bliver min yndlingsårstid. Farverne, duftene, lange skovture. Vi tager til Nordjylland hvert efterår for at lede efter svampe, og i år var ingen undtagelse. Heldigvis har det nationale testcenter for vindmøller ikke forstyrret svampene! Og jeg synes faktisk de er flotte, vindmøllerne, når man ser dem stikke op over trækronerne. Det pynter da også endnu mere på dem at de er med til at sikre, at vi kommer til at leve op til 40% reduktionen i CO2-udslip i 2020…

Fall is my favorite time of year. Always has been. It’s the colors, the scents, and the long forest walks. We go to the same plantation in the northern part of Denmark every year, and this year was no exception. Part of the area has recently been turned into a test center for wind mills, but luckily, the windmills didn’t disturb the mushrooms! And they actually please the eye, the windmills, as they peek over the trees – especially when you consider their part in ensuring that Denmark will actually live up to its climate goal of 40% CO2 reduction in 2020.

windmills

Min familie har jaget spisesvampe siden før jeg blev født, men altid fra et sikkert lille repertoire på omkring 5 arter. Nummer 1 på listen har altid været kantarellen – man kan absolut ikke forveksle den med noget giftigt, og så er det måske den lækreste spisesvamp.

My family already picked mushrooms before I was born, but always for eating, and always from a small, safe repertoire of about 5 species, with the main emphasis on the chanterelle, because it is very tasty and very easy to recognize.

Vi leder stadig efter spisesvampe, og vi træner også næste generation til det. Se bare hvor min 5-årige datter arbejder for føden:

We still hunt for edible mushrooms, and we are even training the next generation. See what an expert chanterelle hunter my 5-year old is:

dagmarkantareller

Men nu leder jeg også efter farvesvampe når jeg går i skoven, og det gør det endnu sjovere – nu finder jeg altid noget spændende! Her er det garn jeg har farvet med svampe dette efterår:

But these days I also hunt mushrooms for dyeing, and that makes it even more fun to walk in the forest – I always find something interesting! This is the yarn I’ve dyed with mushrooms this fall:

allesvampefarver

Jeg er så tilfreds med mine svampefarver denne gang, og jeg går og overvejer et projekt, hvor jeg kan bruge alle farverne sammen.

I’m really happy with this lot, and I’m thinking about a project where I could use all these colors together.

Fra højre til venstre, så er det almindelig bruskbold (brunt, 900 g svampe på 150 g garn), sortfiltet netbladhat (grøngrå), cinnoberbladet slørhat (rosa) og nogle blandede slørhatte (beige-laksefarve).

From right to left, they are dyed with common eartball (brown skeins, 900 g of mushrooms on 150 g of yarn), velvet pax (green-grey), Cortinarius semisanguineus (rose), some mixed Cortinarius ssp (tan).

Jeg ved ikke hvad de hedder, de svampe som gav den orange farve. Jeg tog ikke billeder af dem, men jeg tror det var slørhatte. Her er det orange garnnøgle sammen med et opslag i min store svampebog – det viser nogle svampe, som jeg tror det kunne være. De fleste af dem er meget giftige, og det er svært at kende de forskellige slørhatte fra hinanden, så det er en god regel at holde alle slørhatte separat fra de svampe man har tænkt sig at spise!

I don’t know which mushroom the orange skein is dyed with. I didn’t take pictures of it, but I think it was a species of Cortinarius. Here’s the orange skein seen on a page of my big mushroom book with some species that it could possibly be, most of which are really poisonous. It’s hard to tell different types of Cortinarius apart, and some of them very poisonous, so always keep them apart from food mushrooms!

orangeslørhat

Det lysegule nøgle er farvet med plettet flammehat (Gymnopilus penetrans). Det er en meget almindelig svamp, og efter at have gået igennem en hel skov af dem plukkede jeg til sidst nogle. Det er nu ikke nogen stor farvesvamp. Den gule farve kan man jo få på 117 andre måder, og der er ikke store mændger af den i svampen.

The light yellow skeins were dyed with common rustgill (Gymnopilus penetrans). It’s a very common mushroom, and after walking through an entire forest of them, I finally picked some. After trying it in the dyepot, I don’t think it’s a spectacular dye mushroom. There’s a number of ways to achieve this yellow color, and it’s not very abundant in this mushroom.

plettetflammehat

Jeg fandt også masser af knippe-svovlhat (Hypholoma fasciculate), som også er en middelmådig farvesvamp, der indeholder relativt lidt af denne almindelige farve.

I also found a lot of sulphur tuft (Hypholoma fasciculate) which I find to be a mediocre dye mushroom, since it gives just another yellow, and not even a lot of it.

svovlhat

Det sidste nøgle kan nok bedst beskrives som råhvidt… Det prøvede jeg at farve med lilla ametysthat, selv om jeg nok godt anede at det ikke ville virke.

The last skein is best described as “off white”. I tried to dye it with purple deceiver although I sort of knew it wouldn’t work.

purpledeceiver

Det er en mægtig pæn svamp, synes jeg, som den står der på skovbunden – men desværre kan man lige så godt lade den pynte der. Den lilla farve forsvinder når man gemmer svampene et par dage, eller kan sågar gå af i regnvejr mens svampen stadig gror. Så det er nok ikke den store overraskelse, at selv en stor mængde lilla ametysthatte overhovedet ikke giver nogen farve til garnet. Men nogle gange kan det jo være fint at tjekke sådan noget selv.

They look so pretty on the forest floor, but unfortunately, you’re best off just leaving them there. The purple color is indeed deceitful. It vanishes when you store the mushrooms for a couple of days, it even vanishes if it rains on them while they are still growing. This last fact tells you to give up right away. Predictably, even a large amount of mushrooms give no color on yarn, but I guess sometimes the true experimentalist has to verify the obvious.

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Jars of Lichens

Lichen dyeing is a slow discipline – the slowness only surpassed by the pace that the lichens themselves grow at…

I started two jars of lichens late in February, one with Evernia prunastri (left) and one with Ramalina fastigiata – at least, I’m fairly sure that’s what it is (right).

lichens

It’s important to mention how I gathered these lichens: the Ramalina fastigiata is all windfall from a single tree that used to grow in the playground near our house. Every time I walked under it, I found at least one bit of fallen lichen, and often, I filled both pockets. But then, the other day, I walked by only to find that the tree had been cut down! Along with every other tree nearby!! I hope some city planners somewhere are hanging their heads in shame. That place is not fit for humans anymore. Or any other species for that matter.

Most of the Evernia prunastri is also windfall, but some was picked during trips to several different forest where it grows so thick that most trees are completely covered with it, and in that case, picking off small bits is OK.

Evernia prunastri, also known as oakmoss, ragged hoary lichen, and stag’s horn lichen, is a well known dye lichen, and is also a component of many perfumes (makes sense, its scent is wonderful, but that’s the case with all lichens I’ve met up close). I put 25 g of this in one jar.

Ramalina fastigiata is not specifically mentioned in the lichen chapter of “Vegetable Dyes” by Ethel M. Mairet, a remarkably useful book from 1916 that you can read for free at the Gutenberg project. Nor does “Lichen Dyes, The New Source Book” by Karen Diadick Casselman, but both books mention unspecified/other Ramalina species as sources of red/pink using the ammonia method (and Casselman also indicates that yellow can be obtained with boiling water method). I put 20 g of Ramalina fastigiata in a jar.

After adding lichen to a jar, it should be filled with 1% ammonia so it covers. I buy the ordinary kind at a supermarket. It is 8%, so I simply make a diltion to 1%.

And then comes the tedious part!

Let the lichens steep in ammonia for weeks and weeks, take the caps off every day to let in air, and shake the jars well and often to ensure aeration. Casselman warns again and again that the color will not develop properly without good aeration.

I was diligent in my vat-shaking until early April, at which point I decided to try out the dyes.

From each jar, I took the amount of liquid that is equivalent to 5 g of lichen. From the Ramalina jar, which had 2o g of lichen, that was 1/4 of the liquid or about 100 ml. From the Evernia jar that contained 25 g of lichen, 1/5 of the liquid.

I diluted them to cover the yarn and placed them in a double boiler system with glass jars inside a pot of water. I remember reading about this somewhere, but I don’t remember who the brilliant person is…

But it’s very clever for these small dye baths AND also very good because the pH is above 10 even after dilution, so you have to heat very gently to not damage the wool:

doubleboiler

I gently heated the pot for about an hour, then took out the skeins of wool instead of leaving them in the dye bath until next day as I usually do. I did it differently because I thought the high pH over so many hours would ruin the wool.

This first dyeing attempt gave a couple of skeins of medium pink shades that are quite pleasing, I think! The Evernia-dyed skein (on top) has a slightly browner tone of pink than the Ramalina-dyed one (bottom) which is truly baby pink

lichenwoolapril

After that, I let the jars continue until late June, but I’m afraid the vat-shaking was much less diligent!

But on June 21st, I decided to finish the experiment.

I filtered the rest of the liquid in each jar, then measured the pH, it was 10-11 (as expected). I split the dye liquid from each jar in two, left one of them as it was, and neutralized the other one. I used about 1 part 37% acetic acid to 5-8 parts dye. This is just what we happened to have in the house, HCl would work too. If you want to try this at home, wear goggles and lock children and pets in another room.

Then I used the same double boiler setup as first time, taking out the wool at high pH after an hour, and leaving the skeins in neutral jars until the next day. And the result:

lichenwooljune

From right to left, it’s:

1: The Evernia-dyed skein from April

2: The Ramalina-dyed ditto

3: Evernia high pH, June

4: Ramalina high pH, June

5: Evernia neutral pH, June

6: Ramalina neutral pH, June

So actually skeins 3 and 4 are just a repeat of 1 and 2 but a couple of months later. I’m really not sure why the color was better in April than in June. Because I stopped shaking the jars as much? Or does it influence the result that I used alun mordanted skeins in April but unmordanted wool in June? It shouldn’t, since lichen dyes are substantial, but one never knows.

The neutralized dye baths yielded more color, but the color is towards tan tones rather than a real pink. Nice colors, but I’ve gotten similar colors from avocado with less effort!

FACTS – LICHENS, AMMONIA METHOD

Mordant 10% alun on some skeins, none on the others (it’s what I had around)

Water Tap

Yarn Supersoft 575 m/100 g

Yarn:Dyestuff ratio 2:1 and similar ratios

Conclusion Lovely baby pink plus more saturated orange-pinks

Possible improvements I’d like to get more intense color with this method, and I imagine using more lichen could do the trick. But the shaking of the jars is probably just important to optimize!

 

All in all, I’m pleased with my first results using these types of lichens and the ammonia method. But I do think there is a lot of room for improvement. I’ll probably start some new jars soon!

Tilbage i februar startede jeg krukker med to slags lav, Evernia prunastri og Ramalina fastigiata i 1% ammoniak. Jeg har virkelig gjort mit bedste for at ryste dem og tage låget af lidt tid hver dag, for at der skulle komme rigeligt ilt til, så farverne kunne udvikle sig.

Det gjorde jeg i hvert fald til og med april, hvor jeg farvede de to første testnøgler, og fik fine pink farver. Fra april til juni glemte jeg nok lidt krukkerne… Så i juni besluttede jeg mig for at afslutte eksperimentet. Jeg neutraliserede halvdelen af farven med koncentreret eddikesyre, og det gav pink toner ovre i det orange.

Jeg tror bestemt ikke, det er sidste gang jeg forsøger mig med disse typer lav. Faktisk lader jeg aldrig lav ligge på jorden når jeg finder det på mine gåture, så jeg har et lager til at sætte de næste eksperimenter i gang snarest!

 

 

 

 

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Avocado, Meet Blender

Remember these jars?

fermentation

They had been fermenting for over a week, and the color of the liquid didn’t change over the last days, so I decided it was time to try them.

The front jar contains the pit and peel from 1 avocado and 1 Tsp salt, the other one the same with the addition of 1 Tsp ammonia. I combined the pit and peel in one dye bath because my earlier attempts didn’t yield different colors with them separated. And this time I blended the pit and peel, carefully and a bit at a time to not destroy the blender.

The much deeper red in the ammonia jar does translate into more color, a reddish brown, on the yarn (in front) than the jar without ammonia (in the back) which just gave the standard beige. Again beige.

avoskeins

No pink this time, maybe because I didn’t heat the avocado before fermentation?

FACTS – AVOCADO PEELS + PITS, BLENDED

Mordant 10% alun

Water Tap

Yarn Supersoft 575 m/100 g

Yarn:Dyestuff ratio 10 g yarn to one avocado

Conclusion Ammonia extracts more color

Possible improvements Boil before fermentation to get pink. Filter out blended avocado before dyeing

At this point, I think it’s fair to say that I have tried a lot of combinations with avocado fermentation of avocado pits, of the peels, and now blending them together and fermenting them with and without ammonia. I’ve achieved a range of colors from beige over pink into brown.

So I do think this concludes my experimentation with this for now. The only thing that remains to be seen is how light and wash fast this is over a longer time.

Dette er det – måske – sidste forsøg med avocado, for nu i hvert fald. Denne gang har jeg blendet skal og sten af avocado sammen og prøvet at fermentere dem i en uge med eller uden ammoniak. Sidstnævnte gav den kraftigste farve i glasset og også på ulden. Men ingen pink denne gang, kun beige og brun.

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Avocado Peels

My experiments in dyeing with avocado pits were quite successful if I do say so myself (although a couple of skeins needed a little boost of cochineal).

But what about the peels? They can also be used for dyeing, and since I remembered reading that they give a slightly different shade, I kept them separate. Other than that, the procedure was the same as for the pits (fermentation in slightly salty water for about a week).

And the result:

avocadopeels

The avocado peel skein is in the front, and the 3 avocado pit skeins from earlier are in the back. So in my hands, the peels and pits gave just about the same color, but less intense from the peels.

FACTS – AVOCADO PEELS

Mordant 10% alun

Water Tap

Yarn Supersoft 575 m/100 g

Yarn:Dyestuff ratio Didn’t measure – but I’m guessing 1:10 or even more

Conclusion The color is pretty, but faint

Possible improvements Combine peels and pits to get more color

So that’s what I’ll do next time – and “next time” is actually underway already:

fermentation

These jars are fermenting right now. The one in the front is pit and peel from 1 avocado and 1 Tsp salt. It started bubbling from the bottom after about 3 days, and an orange color is beginning to develop with fermentation. The other jar is the same with the addition of 1 Tsp ammonia. The color is obviously a much deeper red in the ammonia jar, which, by the way, doesn’t ferment. I suppose the ammonia is killing the bacteria that would have fermented.

Next, I’ll try dyeing with liquid from the two jars, to see if the deeper color with ammonia also means more color captured by the wool!

Jeg har afprøvet farvning med gærede avocado-skaller, som giver en fin rosa farve, der ikke er lige så kraftig som den fra stenene. Så de kan godt bare blandes sammen, og det er lige hvad jeg har gjort i de glas der gærer i vinduet.

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The Faintest Pink

Once your eye adapts to spotting lichens, there is one in particular that beckons to you from just about everywhere – bright yellow Xanthoria parietina, growing on stones, fences, and branches.

It’s even in my holiday snapshots from last year, taken at Dybbøl, where the Germans beat the Danish army back to the stone age in 1864. Xanthoria parietina is the yellow splotches on these big boulders my daughter is posing on:

dybboel

And here is a branch with the lichen up close:

xathoria

The color of the lichen can actually vary quite a bit. The Wikipedia entry says that the deep yellow color is caused by the pigment parietin, which has a biosynthesis that is light dependent because parietin is actually the lichen’s UV protection. I have indeed often seen intesting lichens growing in the shade, and stepped closer just to find that it was actually a green-grey version of Xanthoria parietina.

The yellow parietin reacts with KOH to give red, one of the standard test one can make when typing lichens. I don’t know the exact chemistry, but I am guessing the same should happen when you steep it in ammonia?

Parietin, Wikipedia informs us, is also found in the roots of curled dock (Rumex crispus, kruset skræppe in Danish). Jenny Dean lists the roots of curled dock, dock, and sorrel as sources of reddish browns, but I’m not sure if that has anything to do with its parietin content.

But back to Xanthoria parietina. Irish lichens (one of my favorite web sources on lichens) tells us that it is a very pollution-resistant lichen. It seems to be spreading, and is even considered invasive by some people, so this one is fine to gather whenever you find it.

I have kept a jar of Xanthoria parietina since November 15th last year. It contained 42 g of lichen in ammonia (I buy the ordinary one at a supermarket and dilute it to 1%).

I try to remember to shake my jars of lichens. The book I read on the topic, Karen Casselman’s “Lichen Dyes, The New Source Book” returns to the point several times: “Aeration is important”, “Vats ignored […] may not develop properly” and so on.

But in real life, of course, it’s hard to remember. It only takes moments to take the lid off, replace it, and shake the jar, but like flossing and taking vitamins, initial determination can quickly wear off. Some weeks I may have shaken this jar every day, but at least half of the time, it’s just been on its own.

The dyeing process, on the other hand, is easy. Just pour the liquid into the pot and dye the yarn in it over gentle heat. My 10 g test skein came out a faint, but pretty, pink:

xanthoriaskein

and this is actually the best color that I have achieved with Xanthoria parietina. I think it’s a pretty color, although you are actually supposed to turn it blue by exposing the wet skein to sunlight. I tried that with a similar skein, but the blue tone it turned into was so faint that it was white that just felt a bit blue… My guess is that the initial pink should be very strong in order to get a good blue – this is also based on the photos that mycopigments posted here.

I suspect that the shift to faint blue will eventually happen if the yarn is exposed to sun at all (photo-oxidation). Red2white shows a series of light tests here, and in addition to color loss, there is also a change towards blue. But faint and possibly also quite fugitive – good blue can only come from indigo!

In conclusion, the dye from Xanthoria parietina is fun to play with, but not lightfast. I still find myself planning out more experiments, so next time I pass a yellow branch, something will go into my pocket (for a lovely day of acetone extraction perhaps?)

FACTS – Xanthoria parietina

Mordant 10% alun*

Water Tap

Yarn Supersoft 575 m/100 g

Yarn:Dyestuff ratio 1:4

Conclusion The color is pretty, but faint. And it is not lightfast

Possible improvements More diligent vat-shaking – more efficient aeration should develop the dye better. And maybe ripping the lichen into smaller pieces will also help extraction? According to Casselman, lightfastness improves if the yarn is dried before the dye is rinsed out

*Alun mordanting should not be necessary when working with lichen dyes, as they are substantive = able to bond to animal fibers by themselves. But I just had some mordanted skeins on hand, and it doesn’t interfere, either.

Lav-arten Xanthoria parietina bør, efter extraction i ammoniak, give en pink farve som skifter til blå i direkte sol. Jeg har prøvet at få denne blå frem tidligere, uden held. Denne gang har jeg ladet garnet tørre uden sol og fået en svag fin lyserød farve.

Solving the Problem of Beige

My recent attempt at dyeing with fermented avocado pits was only partially successful – I got three nice pink-ish test skeins out of it (on the left, dry) but two skeins of sock yarn came out a drab beige (still in the pot, so wet, which makes the color look nicer than it is)

avocadopot

So I decided to tweak the color in the pink direction, but only a very little bit.

This could be a general strategy for all those beige skeins!! Beige twisted towards pink is a very attractive color to my eye, an old dusty rose, but beige is just that – beige. My least favorite color. The color that makes even beautiful people look plain. So plain-looking people should steer way clear of it. Not to mention old wrinkled people.

I made a dye bath with 1/4 g cochineal. My ordinary kitchen scale doesn’t go that low, so I weighed off 5 g, divided them roughly in 5, and then took a quarter of that pile. We are down to individual lice, here. I used that on 300 g of sock yarn, two that were already avocado dyed and one white:

avocochineal

The avocado/cochineal skeins are the two in the back, and the middle skein is the one that went into the same dye bath, so it got 1/3 of 1/4 g of cochineal. Not much at all! The two front skeins are two more fresh 100 g skeins of sock yarn that got each 1/8 g of cochineal.

I love all of these pinks, and what is even better is the light-fastness of cochineal. In many ways, the properties of cochineal seem closer to a chemical dye, but it’s all just from a small louse.

And here is one avocado pit/cochineal skein up close

avocado

FACTS – AVOCADO PITS + COCHINEAL

Mordant 10% alun

Water Tap (avocado pits) and rain (cochineal)

Yarn Sock yarn 75% wool, 25% polyamide 350m/100g

Yarn:Dyestuff ratio 1:1 for avocado pits, then 0.08:1 for cochineal

Conclusion The final color is lovely, and tweaking with cochineal could well be a general solution to the beige problem

Her er endelig standardløsningen på de evindelige beige nøgler naturfarvet garn! Jeg har overfarvet med en lille smule cochineal, og det giver en dejlig gammelrosa.

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Avocado Pits

I’ve experimented with this salvage dye in the past, but not with much luck. Now, having tried many more dyestuffs, I’m returning to it.

The idea that you can get good color out of something you would have otherwise just thrown out is appealing and worth pursuing, especially in winter, where dyestuffs are scarcer.

I’ve saved avocado pits and peels in the freezer over a good amount of time. Maybe from 20 fruits in total? I’m not sure, and I forgot to weigh them before I started. Anyway, what I did:

  • I chopped the pits with my big knife. I read somewhere to blend them to a powder, but I only have my good blender and I don’t want to destroy it
  • Heated the pits in a couple of liters of salt water (2 Tsp salt per liter)
  • Left them to ferment for about a week. It really did ferment – the smell was unmistakable and air was bubbling out. Then it started to mold very slightly and I decided it was time to dye with it

The reason for adding salt is that it should prevent the dyestuff from spoiling during the fermentation time.

I tried the dye bath with 10 g test skeins of supersoft. The first one was a quite dull beige, but the next two progressively darker and more pink in tone. It seems that more color came out of the pits with each round of heating (I’ve seen this before with other dyestuffs, that later rounds with the same color bath actually gave more intense color instead of weaker). I added some ammonia to the washing water of the third skein, and maybe that turned the color more pink.

avocadoskeins

After the 3 test skeins, I bravely threw in two 100-g skeins of sock yarn.

There was still a lot of color left in the pot, but not of the pink kind  – the two skeins came out more to the beige side, in between test skein 1 and 2 in hue. So I didn’t even let them dry, as I’m planning to immediately overdye them – more later on this – and also, more later on the avocado peels (fermenting right now).

avocadopot

FACTS – AVOCADO PITS

Mordant 10% alun

Water Tap

Yarn Supersoft 575 m/100 g. Sock yarn 75% wool, 25% polyamide 350m/100g

Yarn:Dyestuff ratio 1:20 at least for the test skeins. More like 1:1 or 1:2 for the sock yarn

Conclusion The pink shades that can be obtained are nice, but some skeins turned out a dull beige

Possible improvements Maybe I should have used rainwater? It is often said that it helps with red shades. I think that using a blender would have helped extract the color better

 Jeg har forsøgt farvning med gærede avocadosten, og de gav en dejlig gammelrosa-beige farve på nogle små nøgler. Da jeg smed en større mængde garn i blev det dog bare en kedelig beige…

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