Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dyeing with Black Walnuts - Part 2

I did a couple of "dip tests" while the dye was simmering.  ie. I keep a few locks of fleece in a container where I'm working and dip them into the dye to see what the depth of the colour is.  When I did that, I found there was a LOT of sediment collecting on the locks.  That is not something I want to have to comb out of the fleece afterwards.  Therefore, a straining process is needed.

The walnuts have sat in the pot for about 24 hrs and cooled to room temperature.

Straining is not a quick process, kind of like watching paint dry.  If you've ever made your own almond milk you'll understand what I mean.

See how there's a stream of dye flowing from the filter?  When that changes to just a slow dripping, you know the bottom of the filter is covered in sediment

You can use coffee filters, layers of cheesecloth or even paper towel.  Whatever works for you to get the results you desire.  I started with coffee filters, but I had to change them often - think, after every 2 cups poured.  The sediment was that dense.

Then I switched to paper towels.  They gave me a little more surface to utilize, as when one end was full of sediment, I could just pull (carefully so as not to rip the towel) towards me and expose the other end of the paper towel.  This way I was able to run about 4 cups through the process.

See the sediment collected?

An even better picture.

I didn't use cheesecloth because I knew that even with about 6 layers, I would still end up with some sediment getting through.  Found that out the hard way with almond milk.

In the end, I think I've ended up with about 7 litres of somewhat concentrated dye from 3 pounds of walnut husks.

I've put the dye into my cooking pot and added some more water.  I'm not worried that the dye has now been diluted a bit because it's still there, and I need 'swimming room' for the fleece.  That way the dye will penetrate through all of it.

I'm dyeing a pound of British Milk fleece first.  Bringing it slowly to just under a boil, then I'll let it simmer for about an hour, and sit for the rest of the day and night.

If the dye hasn't exhausted by the end, I may throw in about 1/2 a pound of cotswold that I have.  Even if it isn't a really dark rich brown, I think it'll still have a nice golden/tan/beige colour to it.  We'll see.

This is why I love experimenting!

Results to come....

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