Alkaline Extraction Dye Update

Unencumbered by controlled experiments or good recordkeeping, my exploration of alkaline extraction natural dyes continues. Here’s what the last batch of wool yarn looked like when washed and dry.

Wool yarn naturally dyed with alkaline extractions.

These yarns were all soaked in the alkaline extraction for at least 12 hours, then oxidized for a week before rinsing and washing. The peachy yarn at the bottom is from the white pine bark extraction. The green is sumac leaf (frozen leaves) extraction. The rosy buff is from willow bark. And the barely-there warm vanilla custard at the top is from Siberian iris leaves.

To be honest, I never expected much from the Siberian iris leaf alkaline extraction, so am not disappointed. But I’m not writing it off until I’ve tested it on cellulose fiber, too. Frankly, the cotton ties on all of these wool skeins lead me to think I have a lot of sampling to do on cellulose fibers. In particular, I’m anxious to see what happens with hops leaves.

Sumac leaf alkaline extraction on wool yarn.

For now, though, I’m very, very happy with the results of the alkaline extraction from sumac leaves that were in my freezer. The wool yarn is more green in some light, but definitely to my taste in all lights. It will be a while before I can speak to its lightfastness. In the meantime, I’ll just say I love it.

Published by

Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin