Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Further dyeing with Phormium Tenax


I'm like the Tui returning to the Flax regularly only I swipe a few seed pods and leave the flowers to the birds. I decided to make some dye extract so I had plenty to use over the next few months when the pods in the garden become dried out husks.
I originally dyed 600g of DK New Zealand wool in just one dye bath so I know there is heaps of dye in the seed pods. It oozes out as you cut the pods into small pieces. It has an oiliness that stains the scissors and makes then sticky.

Picked pods. I love their dark green smooth exterior and twisted shapes. The green on some is turning to black as they mature and dry.

So I chopped them up and put them on to heat with about 500ml of water. I brought them up to a simmer and let them cook for an hour. They go all soft and the liquid becomes dark brown.
Did I tell you the smell is not that pleasant compared to other plant dyes so don't do this in your kitchen, or run the extractor hood at full bore. I'm glad to have my draughty dyeshed.

Oh and cook with a lid too, which controls the steam and the smell a bit.
So.. Once cooked sieve the dye liquor and pour into an old flat bottomed pan. By the way keep all dye pans for that purpose and don't cook food in them again.
Simmer the strained dye liquid until there is only a small amount on the bottom of the pan. It will look like gravy.
Once cool you can store it in a bottle in the fridge. 
I add several dye pan worths to my bottle over a period of time.
You can return the strained dye plant bits to the pan with more liquid for a second simmering as there will still be colour there.
Once washed the dyed wool does not smell like the dye fortunately and with alum is a very pretty yellow.

Ahh...the colour of summer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So pretty! Thanks for taking us through that adventure!