clematis montana inspired experiment with low immersion kettle dyeing

We have this huge rambling clematis that is busy swamping the woodshed.  Its currently smothered in blossom.  The other evening the sky was actually clear (yipee the cloud was absent), the sun was setting and giving this gorgeous soft light that just sets colours vibrating,  and on this occasion the clematis was just lit up.  I hadn’t noticed how fantastic the colour of the central stamens were, this amazing citrusy yellow green.  Just beautiful against the soft pinks and whites in the petals.  I took this photo (doesn’t do it justice but you get the picture):

Clematis blossom May 2015.
Clematis blossom May 2015.

I was inspired to dye up some roving.  This needed soft soft gentle.  So I went for a low immersion kettle dyeing (short description below).  And, as I wanted to keep colours (pink and green) relatively distinct with little blending (so no browns please!) with some areas of fibre undyed, I was really tight with the dyes.  Just enough.  So happy with the result:

Clematis BFL roving
Clematis BFL roving

I think next time though the green needs a bit more yellow in it and I may have been a bit too tight with the dyes as there is a bit too much undyed fibre for my liking.  But on the up side minimal blending so no browns.  Can’t wait to spin it up.  I don’t have any specific ideas for it yet, so it will go in the stash.

Hey ho, its back into the studio i go as theres more preparing for Ickworth Wool Fair next weekend.  So not ready.

NB. Low immersion kettle dyeing is a technique for multi-coloured dyeing that can give a greater amount of control over where the colours go but can also give some awesome colour blends (or not).  The basic technique is to proceed as for kettle dyeing but the water is kept to a minimum, only a few centimetres, just enough to allow the dye to move through the fibre where it is placed. The more water the more movement of the dye and the greater the blending.  The temperature is kept low, no boiling bubbles allowed!  Colours and shades can be built up by applying dyes in succession to give some really complex and interesting results.  Or a horrible sludgy brown mess if it goes wrong….that could be a great future post “when dyes go bad”…


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