Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dyeing yarn with marigolds, Michaelmas and the moon!

I apologize for my absence last week. We all had head colds and then I just felt nauseated and had absolutely no energy. Really it's been that way this whole pregnancy. Usually by the time I hit the second trimester I have endless amounts of energy and am eating enough for three or more but not this time around. I am having an awful relationship with food where I just don't want to eat at all. Of course not eating makes me feel worse and then nothing sounds good. 'Tis a vicious cycle I am stuck in at the moment. Kevin likes to tell me that this pregnancy is rougher on me than the others because I am so old now. *Ahem* I just turned 36 and don't see that as very old at all, thank you very much.

Anyways, I thought I would share some moments from this year's Michaelmas. It was our usual celebration but this time instead of dyeing silks, we dyed yarn! I am now officially addicted to natural dyeing.

After our morning main lessons and circle time we made our dragon bread.
making dragon bread K's dragon bread and St. Michael We had leftover dough this year so the girls also made some St. Michael bread. Above is K's dragon and St. Michael bread... C's dragon and St. Michael and here is C's dragon and St. Michael. L's dragon L made a dragon and a boat.

The children put on their Michaelmas pageant for us. This year C was St. Michael and K was a narrator. Little L was the dragon, of course. I was thankful his dragon balaclava and legs/arms still fit him.
St. Michael and the dragon Michaelmas play bowing at the end Bowing at the end.

We also did some yarn dyeing with natural dyes. This was something K was supposed to do at the end of her third grade year but we didn't get to it. I had been wanting to dye some wool yarn I had with marigolds from our garden to knit some sweet baby items (I have a thing for the name Marigold for a baby girl. I am just smitten with it. I blame Downton Abbey). Michaelmas seemed like the perfect day to try our hand at crafting a yellow dye. We started out by soaking our wool yarn in a mordant solution of warm water, 2 tbsp. alum and 2 tsp. cream of tartar.
yarn soaking in mordant of alum and cream of tartar We let it sit while we gathered the marigolds from our garden. I was fearful we didn't have enough and that the dye bath wouldn't be a nice yellow so we gathered some calendula as well to add to the batch. calendula and marigolds for dyeing sweet little hitchhiker that came in with our marigolds When we brought our bowl of flowers inside we noticed a sweet little hitchhiker that came along for the ride. I gently picked up the marigold flower she was on and placed her back outside. making the dye bath Then we got to work making the dye bath. K poured all the flowers into our largest pot and covered them with enough water to fully cover the 560 yards of yarn we had (but we did not add the yarn at that time). We brought the pot to a low boil and let it simmer for about 1 hour. The new turned off the heat and let the dye sit for a few hours. After that we strained out the flowers and poured the dye bath back in to the pot. That actually ended up being our stopping point for the day. I read that the yarn should soak in the mordant solution for twentyfour hours so we decided to finish the yarn project the following morning. the yarn after it's dip in the dye bath The next day we warmed up the dye bath again on a very, very low simmer and placed our soaking wet yarn into the dye bath. We let it simmer for 30 minutes and then turned off the heat. I let the yarn sit in about 30 minutes longer and then K took it out. K drying and straightening our skein drying the skein (basically swinging it around on her arm like a hula hoop) As you can see the yarn was a bit of a mess when we took it out. K rinsed it with lukewarm water and then helped to dry and straighten it by basically swinging it around on her arm like a hula hoop. I saw this method on some yarn dyeing video somewhere. K had fun with this part. leftover dye bath for more yarn yarn dyed with marigolds and calendula We saved the leftover dye bath to dye some more yarn. As you can see the yellow came out very vibrant and strong so we are hoping to get at least two or three more skeins out of this dye bath, each slightly less vibrant than the one before. I am out of yarn so we will have to wait on that experiment, but there is a trip to Portland in our future so I can pick some up then. I honestly can't get over just how bright yellow it came out. I expected more of a muted or brownish yellow. But, then again, I did add a lot of flowers fearing the yellow to be too soft. It really reminds me of Michaelmas. I will have to find an appropriate baby pattern for it. Any suggestions? defeating the dragon Defeating the dragon (candle).

Oh and last Sunday night we stayed up way past bedtime to watch the moon: harvest moon eclipse eclipse I wish I had a better lens to capture it with but I made do with what I had. My children were absolutely awestruck by the whole thing. I have to say it was pretty incredible!

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