Spinning

Cota, revisited.  

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.

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