Not being satisfied with the color I decided I needed to try again. This time, I got out my Navajo dye book
and looked at the recipes. According to the book you need twice the weight of cota to wool. While I stuffed the pot with the cota the first time, I was dyeing a good 1/2 pound of fiber with probably half that weight in cota. So my thought is that I did not use enough dye stuff.
While looking in the same book I found a recipe that combines cota with mountain mahogany root. It is supposed to produce a burnt orange dye. I happen to,have a bunch of dry mountain mahogany root bark. So I started doing my math. All the recipes in the book assume one pound of wool. I started with how much cota I had. It weighed at 5oz. Using that as my starting point I scaled my recipe. I am using all 5 oz of cota, but treating it like 4 oz for conversion. That meant I needed 2 oz of mahogany root. All of this for a mere 2 oz of wool top. However, if I can get this right it gives hope for a larger dye bath in the future. One I get more cota.
The process is to,soak the dye stuff overnight in 5 gallons of water, but again, I am scaling the recipe down, so I put it in a bucket with a bottle 2 gallons of water. Navajo add the alum directly into the dye bath. If I were doing that I would have .5oz of raw alum to throw in. After consulting with my guru (thanks again Ric) I decided to mordant the fiber in the usual way with alum and cream of tartar.
Today, per my recipe, I boiled the dye stuff for an hour.
After the hour it was way darker than my first go round. Probably from the mahogany root. Then I strained out the plant matter.
Then the fiber went in to cook for two hours. Talk about watching pots boil. I let the fiber simmer for only about an hour and it achieved the color I was looking for. I then turned off the pot and allowed the fiber to cool in the dyebath. That way it could absorb any additional color while it cooled. Ta da!!! I have to admit it was a lot of work for 2 oz of fiber, but the color is beautiful.