2008-02-28: Igor, Fetch Me the Bark

I get a chance to play around with hand dyeing some more.

After all the crazy hectic stuff that has been happening in my life lately, last weekend was a really enjoyably quiet (and productive) one. This may be partly due to the fact that Adam finally gave in to his urges and bought a PS3. While he hammered away at Ratchett & Clank, I decided to play mad scientist again with some eucalypt bark I found on the ground at Lane Cove Park.

Dye stuffs

I weighed up the bark, and then weighed up a slightly smaller amount of wool top.

Fibre ready to dye

I brought a pot full of water to the boil and crumbled up the bark into it. Meanwhile, my undyed wool was soaking in lukewarm water.

Making a dye liquor

After 50 minutes on the boil, I strained the bark away from the dye liquor and let it cool. Then I added my soaked wool and let it come back to as low a boil as I could (I think I will need to do this part on a smaller burner in the future) to simmer for about another hour.

Wool in the dyepot

I don't have final photos of the result. It wasn't an outstanding colour but it was an intriguing orange-y cinnamon brown. I wish I had thought ahead of time to find a mordant that would bring out the orange/reds and brighten it up a bit further.

I also used the remaining dye liquor in an exhaust dyeing experiment. Using some of my leftover cream/ pale yellow eucalypt dyed wool, I boiled it for another half hour in the dye bath. The result was a much stronger yellow (pictures to come eventually).

This is in fact my third eucalypt dyeing experiment. A few months ago, after my dyeing day at David Reidy's place, I tried a follow-up solo dyeing attempt with some leaves picked up from the neighbourhood (the nice thing about eucalypts is they shed constantly, so I'm never short of dye stuffs when I'm out walking around.

My second dyeing attempt did not go so well. I forgot a key rule when boiling up my dye liquor: if you boil the dye stuff for too long, you get the most boring brown colour in the universe.

The most boring colour in the universe

Normally I like earthy neutral colours, but this was too boring even for me. I decided to liven it up by blending the offending bland stuff with some leftover acid dyed wool (in blue). I also plan on blending it with some of the left over yellow wool from the first dye experiment, but I ran out of time last weekend.

Goodbye ugly colour

For this experiment I decided to break out my mini combs, which I haven't used in a while. I divided up the wool to be blended into an even number of small strips of each colour.

Blending preparation

I took one strip of each colour and pulled them into even smaller strips to load onto the mini comb for blending.


After a light comb I pulled the wool through my diz and then put the blended wool back on the comb again to blend it one more time. The result was a nice heathery blue-grey. Much more to my taste.

Blended top

I decided to try and spin it as roughly 4-ply / 14 wpi. I was pretty successful at spinning up a test batch of plain wool to my intended weight, but my final yarn hasn't been measured yet (it just spent the night on the niddy noddy).

Blending experiment results

I also plan to card up the nobbly bits left over from the combing and experiment with a more lumpy yarn (perhaps try to practice my long draw, which I am very precious about).

After this weekend's experiments, I really have a sense of my spinning skills coming together; transitioning from random experiments and practice to more directed spinning with an end goal in mind.

Very interesting to see what my granddaughter has been doing during these periods without contact because of some glitch somewhere. I am happy we got the hang-up taken care of. My notion about the problem is similar to yours: i.e.,that, having accepted your ISP once, the "blocker took it as OK to admit. I somewhere got the notion that some spam will assume that they can come in because something similar has been accepted. Somewhere I picked up the notion that incoming spam checkss sthe address book or your log and if that domain is in there it is not filtered out -- or something to that affect. Since I did not find a "Block" anywhere, that is the only thing that makes sense to me. Anyway, I am glad we found each other. Love, Grandpa Clarence.

Clarence Spier cspier@dc.rr.com 29 Feb 2008

Hi Grandpa! I'm glad you had a chance to look through my site and see what I've been up to. That's exactly what it's there for. Also if you have any requests for socks or a hat or something else hand made, let me know!

ARJ roceal@jngm.net 02 Mar 2008