Sunday, July 7, 2013

At last, lavender from lichen

With only the last sixth of my lichen dye stock remaining, I once again reviewed my books on natural dyeing and found no answers. But with one more web search, I found a blog:

The author has successfully dyed several types of lichen, with resulting color like this:

My color looks like this:

You can see its ancestor lichen to the left of the branch.

From the instructions on the mycopigments blog, I've discovered that I was supposed to expose the dyebath to oxygen every day to intensify the color. I'm happy with the pastel color, though.

Next time I gather lichen I'll try again.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fugitive color

Sprang continues, but I wasn't pleased with the first piece and will start a second one this week.

Here I am (on the left) stirring lichen dye into a pot. Well I think it is lichen dye: I fermented three types of lichen from the cherry trees in my yard in ammonia and water for several weeks. The result was a dark purple-brown liquid. I tried soaking white wool in it for several days with no result: white wool. At the Weavers & Spinners Guild annual dye day, I tried heating it, but again the wool was white. I also tried some bamboo fiber; that didn't work either. I have a small amount left, and I'm going to do some more research to find out if there is some way I can make the fiber take up the color.

But I did get my picture in the paper! The Kitsap Sun, June 14, 2013.

Suzanne Griffith dumps her jar of homemade fermented lichen dye into the pot. Watching are Sally Loree, Jo Story, Janet Larson, Hildegard Stone and Dolores Still, all members of the Kitsap Spinners and Weavers Guild members

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sprang! continued:

This is harder than I thought, but I have succeeded in getting a good start after several frustrating attempts.

A pattern is starting to emerge. Now I need to do a few more rows and then join the piece in the middle.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sprang! has sprung to the top of my to-do list. Here is the beginning of my first sprang piece. The yarn is wool and silk, spun by me.

This ancient form requires little in the way of financial outlay: a few sticks or dowels, some string or cord, and leftover yarn. Sprang resembles weaving or knitting, but it is closest in process to braiding: yarns or cords are twisted to form a web or net. If you've ever done card weaving, sprang is like card weaving without any weft.

Sprang apparently developed before weaving, many years before the current era or birth of Christ. This remarkable web page shows a picture of what the author calls a hair net (I think it's a bonnet) found in a bog in Denmark and dated 1,400 BCE:

Soon I will show you my attempt at the next stage of sprang, twisting. Changes at the top of the piece should magically appear at the bottom, slanting the opposite way.

À bientôt!