HomeGeneral ChatUndyed Blue Faced Leicester
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10/4/2010 10:13:48 AM
Alice Trueman
Alice Trueman
Posts 1784
I couldn't resist - it dyes so beautifully. Besides, I've got all those little bottles of dye from last year's retreat - I have to use them up, don't I?
I'll put that retreat on again for any group of 8 people - it was a lot of fun. Some of you will remember Stephanie bringing shopping bags of stinging nettles freshly picked from her 3 acre field and then our trying to stuff them into the big cooking pot without getting stung, for part of the natural dye session. Nettles produce a very pleasant yellowy-green, sort of ancient tartan shade.
Who else went for the Blue Faced Leicester?
Alice
Salt Spring Island
10/4/2010 2:15:38 PM
Marta
Marta
Posts 2140
Your retreats always sound so good! One day...
10/4/2010 7:42:41 PM
Naomi Reimer
Naomi Reimer
Posts 85
The pictures of our dyed skeins waving in the wind from the tree and the deck were impressive. Lots of fun. Naomi
10/5/2010 5:10:28 AM
Shui Kuen Kozinski
Shui Kuen Kozinski
Posts 13222
Alice:
I think of you when I saw yesterday's yarn. I have 10 skeins of Blue Faced Leicester. I have tons of nettle on our property. Will you please tell me how to start - the proportion?
SK
10/5/2010 10:05:10 AM
Alice Trueman
Alice Trueman
Posts 1784
Hi SK

This is what we did with nettles:
Mordant yarn over night in a solution of 10% alum + 7% cream of tarter (these are percentages of the weight of the yarn - approx, don't have to be exact )
Next day, pick enough nettles to fill the largest pot you have - cut into pieces 3-4 inches long and press down to cram in as many as you can. Fill with water as high as you can without boiling over. Simmer for about an hour or so, then let steep and cool for several hours (overnight is fine). Strain off the liquid and throw away the stalks and leaves (composting is fine they are just cooked greens).
Return the liquid to the pot, add damp mordanted yarn (blot out excess water with a towel), add water to cover, if necessary, and simmer (don't boil) for an hour or so. Stir when you think of it. Check colour from time to time. Let cool in the nettle water (dye bath). When cool, remove from pot, rinse well, and hang up to dry.
We dyed 8-10 50g skeins at a time in one of the big size speckled blue and white canners (the type every hardware store across Canada sells in the fall). Warning - the brew will smell 'somewhat', so if you can do it outside on a BBQ burner, camp stove, hotplate, etc it's better - just be sure that you can control the heat low enough for just a simmer.

This is fun to do and gives a good colour. Nothing is chemically exact - it's folk art rather than science, so don't worry. Unfortunately it won't use up all the nettles in your back 40 unless you go into vast production (Stephanie had great hopes that I'd want every nettle from her back 3 acres).
Do give it a try and report back!

Alice
Salt Spring Island
10/5/2010 10:22:42 PM
Jamie
Jamie
Posts 3462
Hey Alice, I too fell for the BFL and ordered 10 skeins. I probably have some from the last BFL offerings. And a dye workshop sounds like fun. I am always short of cash but at the moment I'm spending two weeks with my Hawaii DD. She is having problems with her marriage and I can offer some moral support. Not fun!
I'll be posting a message on the thread that Eileen started. Hope all is well with you and yours.
Jamie
10/6/2010 5:53:49 AM
Shui Kuen Kozinski
Shui Kuen Kozinski
Posts 13222
Hi Alice:
Thank you for the reply. Where can I get the alum and cream tarter, Superstore? I will cook up a pot of nettle to play with it and report back to you.
SK
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