Over the weekend I finally got my skeins mordanted. I used Jenny Dean’s book Wild Color as my instruction manual and weighed out all my fiber. I had 640g of fiber total. So I calculated 8% alum and 7% cream of tartar and followed her method for mordanting for 12 hours. I then took most of the skeins out to dry for later and left 3 damp to play with Cota.
Cota is a Navajo dye and they also drink it as a tea. As a dye it produces colors that range from yellow to orange. Supposedly Cota from more dry environments produce the orange. I gathered mine along the highway in southern NM. I was looking for that coppery orange color. This color card is from a workshop I took close to 5 years ago maybe. (How was it that long ago?) It shows the orange I was looking for. In talking with my dye friend Ric, he told me to stuff my pot with Cota and overdye something brown or grey. So I chose some fawn colored alpaca that I had blended with wool and silk and spun into a fingering weight yarn. I also grabbed a skein of the white CVM because I want skeins of all my dye experiments.
I cooked the Cota on my stove for several hours and the color was a nice deep coppery orange in the pot. I did not weigh my dyestuffs, perhaps I should have, but there was no way anymore of it was going in so I just went with it. I strained it an allowed it to cool overnight as my yarn was still in the mordant bath.
Monday morning I dyed my skeins. I have to say, that I need to start doing my dye when I can be focused on dyeing. However, as I have kids and commotion, that would be in about 10 years. So lets just say that once again, I had some fumbles. My dye stock boiled, so I took it off that burner and placed it on another and turned it down…. only to find out an hour later that I had turned on the wrong burner…. anyway, I finally got the correct burner on and simmered the yarn for about 2 hours.
I never got my orange. It is much more of a Mustard color. The overdyed alpaca kind of has a color of gold in the box of crayola’s. The more I look at it the more it grows on me. I really wanted that orange color, so that is a tad disappointing. I am learning with natural dyes that you really can’t expect any one thing. It’s a process. This color is within the correct range for Cota. Considering it’s been in my garage for about 4-5 years I should be happy it still gave me color at all.