Featuring my "Blossom" knitting pattern from the May 2010 "Blossom and Bark"Phat Fiber Sampler Box.
Yarn credit to Sheeps Egyptian Cotton (http://www.etsy.com/shop/SheepsEgyptianCotton) for the hand dyed cotton yarns and WC Mercantile (http://www.etsy.com/shop/wcmercantile) for the lovely commercial cotton yarns.
I also wrote about using Pecan shells to make a nice pink yarn:
… and Bark
A rank amateur's fumbling first attempt at natural dyeing with some help from an expert
Thanks to Mama Jude for the help! Visit her at mamajudes.etsy.com
This month's theme was very educational for me. My husband creates large bags of osage sawdust, I thought I might explore dyeing and send samples of osage sawdust. Some google searching led to a claim that pecan shells will produce pink dye. I live in Texas and there is a pecan grower about 10 miles away. I called and they had 15 pounds of pecan shells I could have free! Free is my favorite flavor, so 20 minutes later, I had my pecan shells. I researched a bit, mostly finding information on walnut shells. I asked Phellow Phattie Mama Jude (mamajudes.etsy.com) for her opinion on dyeing with shells. She was very patient answering all my questions. (Check out her shop, you'll love her work.) The shells sat soaking for 3 days because life got in the way of completing the experiment, but they did not ferment.
The part of the pecan fruit, called a drupe, that I am using is the hard shell. The fruit grows on the tree encased in green hulls which turn brown (see picture) as the fruit matures. Most of the searches turned up information on dyeing with the hulls. The shells I obtained were leavings from the shell cracking machine, so some nut meat was still in the shells. I removed this as best I could, leaving the nut meat for our squirrels.
4 oz raw 10+ year old Corriedale fiber, picked over for VM, soaked to remove dust and larger boulders, water changed several times, washed with Dawn dishwashing liquid. Locks left mostly intact.
4 oz Pecan shells, sorted to remove nut meat, coarsely crush in muslin bag with large hammer, finely ground in coffee grinder that might not live through the experience, soaked in 1 qt water for 3 days, strained to remove shell grit. Nice dark brown with rose notes. I re-read the google site about the dyer that got a pink out of pecan shells. I missed that she used the WHOLE nut. Maybe next time I have stale pecans I will try that method.
Place wet wool (I did not use a mordant) in oval crockpot. Discover that 4 oz of wet wool just about fills 5 qt oval crockpot. Dither for a moment and then decide that a slow heating will distribute color, so there is no need for room. Cross fingers on this point. Realize that I only have 2 electrical outlets and coffee has not been brewed yet. Brew coffee, pour a cup, sigh, resolve to dedicate a counter to dyeing in the future and plug in crockpot. Turn to low setting and try to forget it so I won't be tempted to raise the lid every two minutes. Let it sit on low for about 6 hours, turning about every 2 hours or so. Removed small amount of fiber to check. Nice rosey light brown, not what I was expecting, but still in early stages. Left the rest of the fiber overnight. Turned a nice, mellow, unmistakable pink!
(End of article)
I'll be working with Sheeps Egyptian Cotton again for the May 2011 Phat Fiber Sampler Box. I just got a lovely set of custom dyed cotton yarn for the pattern.
Blossom pattern available at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/blossom---flower-scour-power.
If you have not heard about Phat Fiber Sampler Box, check it out http://phatfiber.com/
Take care and keep your yarn dry.