It has been a while (June 23rd) since I completed the week four dyeing project. I now have time to write about what we did. Many of you may remember that last summer we had to put in a new driveway to get tractors and equipment to and from the machine storage shed. The resulting disturbed soil on both sides of the new driveway was fertile ground for Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) to grow.
Since the sheep refuse to eat the Mullein, it is not a desirable plant to have growing in the pastures. Not wanting to perpetuate this plant, Dick pulled the plants before they started to develop the flowering stalk. I then separated the leaves and cut them into approximately one inch pieces. I had 780 grams of chopped leaves and 120 grams of fiber for a ratio of 6.5 to 1. I soaked the leaves in water for 16 hours and had a light yellow/green color in the water. I simmered the dye bath for 2 hours resulting in a deep yellow/orange color. I separated the dye bath into 3 equal amounts. To the first third of the dye bath, I added one skein of yarn mordanted with Alum and Cream of Tartar and one skein mordanted with Copper Sulfate liquor. I simmered this bath for one hour. For the second third of the dye bath, I added 2 Tablespoons of lime juice to the water and then added one skein of yarn mordanted with Alum and Cream of Tartar. I simmered this bath for 1 hour. To the third and final dye bath, I added 1/2 teaspoon of soda ash. This bath simmered for 1 1/2 hours . The results are pictured below. I was surprised and pleased with the results. I had dyed with Mullein in the past but I had always used the flowers and the flower stalks. These plant parts had given a green with yellow undertones. Using just the leaves from early summer plants, I got a yellow green and a deeper yellow green in the neutral bath, a lovely butterscotch color in the alkaline bath, and a tan color in the acidic bath. Certainly a plant to use again.