End of summer, Woad vat, cotton, corn and beans

I don’t know how official this is but most people I know consider “Labor Day” – which in the US falls on the first monday of September – as the end of summer. I ended my summer with a Woad vat. The wool is my SCHG challenge recycling/upcycling project.

Starting from the left: Woad overdye Hibiscus (yellow); Woad overdye onion peel (orange-yellow); Woad multi-dipped; Woad one dip.

I had hoped to grow my own Woad but as it turned out I was growing Weld. (Oh don’t ask, so much for my plant identification skills…)

This Woad was purchased in powder from from Woad Inc in the UK. The All About Woad site has really excellent directions and also sells Woad dye and kits.

Besides the dye plants (my project) there is the family vegetable garden. Most years we get a supply of dried tomatoes and soup beans. This year we tried growing corn.  Besides what was eaten fresh and given away we have dried corn (soup, cornbread, etc.).

[dried -> ground -> corn bread]

And the first boll on my cotton shrub just started opening.

Eat corn bread, contemplate the Woad vat, not a bad ending for the summer.

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SCHG Guild project

The Southern California Handweavers Guild , my local weaving guild, has an annual ‘Guild Challenge’. This year it is “to take something unwanted and give it a second life”  – a recycling challenge. So I have been recycling a 100% wool machine-knitted sweater from my local Out of the Closet thrift shop’s $1 rack.

[unraveled wool before washing and dye]

[from a previous post – same wool after onion dye.]

Keeping in the recycling spirit I’ve been trying out my usual array of yard dyes – Fennel, Onion peels, and most recently Hibiscus flowers (dried).

Interestingly and annoyingly I get a consistent yellow to yellow green with dried hibiscus while other people get a rose-red color. The dye bath is a lovely rose color and yellow wool pops out. So I’m still looking for ways to coax it to red that don’t involve harsh mordants.  More about that later…

As an aside – it turns out that dismembering a machine knit is not exactly like frogging a hand-knit.  There are extra stitches at the seems. A few good web sites explain the process:
a) How to recycle sweaters for yarn,
b) Cashmere Connoisseur: How to take apart a sweater for the yarn

As you can see just Google on something like ‘recycle sweaters for yarn’ and you will find plenty of helpful suggestions.