Keep Acting Natural

Well, I finally bit the bullet.

I waited this long because I wanted the most out of my precious, home-grown Hopi sunflower seeds, but I learn best by doing. That said, mistakes were made.

My first dye bath (with alum as the mordant) was gorgeous, but I worried I didn’t exhaust the seeds, so I left them in there when I dyed the fibers. This was my first mistake.

Hopi sunflower/alum dye bath

It started out this beautiful purple, but then it turned gray. It’s that blue-toned gray that I love, so not a huge deal, but admittedly a little disappointing. Not to mention the seeds get stuck in the yarn, but not so stuck they won’t fall out and make a gigantic mess.

hundreds of seeds in a bath tub

Look at this. This is the worst of it, but my kitchen looks similar.

Can’t argue with the results, though!

The other thing I learned from my first dye pot was the “equal parts dye matter and fiber” does not apply to sunflower seeds. I soaked two skeins just in case the dye bath wasn’t exhausted the first time around. I got both of those dyed, resist dyed a silk scarf, and it still wasn’t exhausted. Again, won’t complain, just wish I was better prepared.

And I was for the second dye bath. I used iron for the mordant this time, and it went more like I expected.

Hopi sunflower/iron dye bath

I sieved out what I could of the seeds, so way less messy this time around (not mess free, of course, I am still dyeing). I had three skeins ready to go, and the bath was exhausted by the end of the third.

three skeins in various shades of gray

It makes a nice gradient!

I’m still thrilled with the results. Hoping to try again next year!

10 thoughts on “Keep Acting Natural

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