textiles · exploration · misadventure


Bougainvillea Disappointment

Bougainvillea dyeWell, THAT was disappointing.

Vibrant red Bougainvillea yarns? Nope.

Red Bougainvillea yarns? Nope.

Sort of red Bougainvillea yarns? Nope.

Brownish orangish greenish Bougainvillea yarns? Check.

From left to right: alum, brass (striped), copper, iron pre-mordant (steely blue!), iron pre- and post-mordant (striped), and no mordant.

Subtle colors, not vibrant. Kind of boring, but I do really like the steely blue.

And before anybody asks, “What’s up with the stripes?” here’s what’s up with the stripes.

When I spun this yarn, I added a little extra Cormo and some Merino, with very similar visual characteristics to the original fleece I started with, to ensure I had enough yarn for the intended project. And forgot all about it.

These alternate fibers were invisible in the finished blanket, but the dyes and mordants knew. Those two wools were processed differently from the main Cormo wool I used. They were washed in different places, in waters with different mineral contents, likely with different detergents, probably with different after-treatments, and voilà!: different dye results.

I don’t even know which wool it is that appears here, the alternate Cormo, or the Merino. But I do wish I knew how it had been treated, because the dye results are deep and vibrant, despite not being red. If you look closely at the brass-mordanted yarn, right, you can see tiny glows of a brighter red, particularly near the top of the picture.
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I’m disappointed, but I’m nothing if not stubborn. I’m SO trying this again.