Anyway, some pictures I just found this evening show contact dyeing fabric wrapped in black plastic. In their clear plastic covering, the sun may have been leaching away the probably not very lightfast colours as quickly as the plants can leak them into my silk bundles.
My final excuse is that all three experiments have been growing mould since Friday. Even if this adds to the colour mix, it can't be doing the protein fibres any good.
Bank Holiday Monday - the greenhouse was hot as an oven. I fished the warm wool and unappetising plant remains out of the solar jar, rinsed the fleece about six times and had it dry in an hour. The geranium petals looked pretty spent, fawn and soggy. The wool nearest to them was the deepest ginger. The coreopsis flowers were brown but intact, with a rather dingy orange colour wool around them. The tansy and chamomile flowers still looked intact and bright, with a more lemony wool beside them and the hollyhock petals (which gave blue in a conventional dye bath) had the palest wool around them with purple at the tips.
Three months wait probably was needed, especially for the last three plants.
Navajo plying is a method of looping lengths of a single thread of yarn like a lazy daisy embroidery stitch, so that as you put in twist, three strands are spun together. Three ply gives a rounder wool cross section than plying two singles together and Navajo plying means the colours don't mix within the strand, only along the length. Worth having a go and I really enjoyed doing it, once I got into a rhythm. The resulting yarn was very uneven in twist and thickness. What the hell. Call it an art yarn. No, not enough bling. I'll call it a poetry yarn and name the colourway 'Mellow Fruitfulness'
They'll certainly fade fast outdoors. Ay, in the very temple of Delight Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine. To continue the Keats nomenclature, these two shall be known as 'Cloudy Trophy' and 'Joy's Grape'.
Lastly, the frivolous leafy mix with a handful of geraniums and coreopsis, tied up with wool soaked in vinegar from a rusty nail pot. No leafy print - in retrospect, I expect you'd have to press it flat to have much chance of that. Still, I love the grey pattern from the iron. The acid environment has dotted purple spots out of the red geranium petals and a clearer yellow from the coreopsis.
Such success is, of course, unrepeatable, though I will be trying for a similar effect. I name this scarf
'Writ on Water'.
Since I can't be sure the colours will last til Christmas, I shall have to wear it.
Does my carbon footprint look big in this?