15 February 2013

Dyeing with Eucalyptus and Sea Level Take Two

I've been wanting to experiment with eucalyptus as dye stuff for quite some time, then one day when I was out walking with the old man I saw this fallen branch lying on the ground, it was still fresh, so I brought it home (the old man walked a few paces behind pretending he didn't know me, ha!). It was my first time trying out this method although I've been reading about it, first I striped all the leaves and tore them into small pieces, next I soaked them for a few days, then I boiled and simmered the leaves in a pot for a couple of hours and let it cool. I used a skein of natural coloured merino/alpaca blend which I soaked in a vinegar solution, no mordant was used this time because some say you don't need mordant with eucalyptus (but I will next time).
The yarn was dunked in the dye bath, heated and simmered for an hour before being rinsed until water run clear. The colour is much lighter than I anticipated, well I didn't really know what to expect but somehow I thought the colour would be darker. The photo doesn't quite show the true colour, it really is a honey lemon sort of yellow. I wonder now perhaps I should have let the yarn soak for a few days before boiling, maybe next time.


When I run out of yarn for the Sea Level shawl using my handspun many of you suggested that I should carry on and use a colour that matched the skein, I didn't have any matching colours in the right weight in my stash (would you believe it?!) so I spun up a contrasting colour using my home dyed fleece. But then I did a handspun swap and received a gorgeous skein made of Loop! Self Striping Spontaneous BULLSEYE which was perfect for the pattern.
It took me nearly three weeks to finish but I'm very pleased with the result. The pattern was written for handspun from the Loop! batts, having completed the shawl I can really appreciate the beauty of both the design and the yarn, it's a perfect match! My Ravelry project page is here.

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  1. That shawl is GORGEOUS! I love that it's your handspun too. Beautiful work and nice color combination.

    How does that yarn smell? After soaking in the plant, I would assume it would be fragrant. I have a natural plant dye book and noticed most plants give very earthy and muted colors.

  2. The shawl is gorgeous!!! Well done!!!! Eucalyptus is my favorite scent, it was interesting to see it as a dye...

  3. Dyeing with eucalyptus - very interesting! and your knitting is beautiful.

  4. I have only vaguely heard of using eucalyptus as dye, maybe you need more of that leaves to generate a more dense, saturated color? (I gather your old man doesn't read your blog ;-))

    The shawl is beautiful!!

    1. Hehehe, no he doesn't. Every time we go for a walk now my eyes are trained to the ground looking for fallen branches and he moans if I see something, he thinks he'd married a bag woman!

  5. I love how your shawl turned out! No one would know about the skein issue, really.

    And that hand-dyed is definitely a delicate eucalyptus color. I'm also wondering if it's fragrant - that would be a big plus for me. :)

  6. I love eucalyptus scent, so soothing. Unfortunately the yarn did not take much fragrance from the dye, only slightly when freshly out of the pot but no longer, which is a shame.

  7. I was also wondering about the fragrance. Too bad it didn't hold. Can you imagine how wonderful a cowl made with eucalyptus scented yarn would be?