Walnut dyeing results; stitched feather

The Black Walnut dyebath gave some wonderful color. The wool came out very rich; the silk is a soft tawny brown. Interesting facts re: this dye (from Michelle Wiplinger’s Natural Dye Instruction Book):

  • The dye is high in tannic acid, and is a substantive dye, so it does not need a mordant. Mordants can be used as color changers.
  • The rich browns develop with oxygen (indigo also required oxidation). So she recommends simmering the hulls for a couple of hours with an overnight cool-down before adding the fiber. I simmered the hulls about an hour with an overnight cool-down.

 

walnutonsilk

In between extracting the color and dyeing the cloth I stitched a magic feather for Jude’s inspiring Magic Feather Project. Background: a scrap of muslin – my natural pigment palette. I use scraps of muslin to offload the brush and test colors. When the scraps become lively with marks, scribbles and color I throw them in the scrap pile. I chose black and yellow for the feather because bumble bees and Goldfinches are now feeding on my fall flowers and seed heads! I also tried a kantha stitch with a rippled effect that I have often admired on the Spiritcloth blog.

stitchedfeather

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Windfall Walnuts

We took a road trip down the Great River Road last week, following the Mississippi down the Wisconsin side.

bluffs

 

mississippi

At a roadside stop we stumbled upon a grove of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) trees, with oodles of windfall walnuts. Lucky for me! This tree is native to eastern North America, including SE Minnesota/western Wisconsin.

I filled my bag, which yielded approx. 6 lbs. of hulls, 5 lbs of which I froze (recommended by J. M. Niles). Some of them were almost as big as apples!

windfallwalnuts

I soaked the hulls in rainwater along with a splash of vinegar overnight, simmered them and then dyed some wool and silk samples. Results later this week.