- 8 ounces corriedale wool top (purchased from here); divided into (four) two-ounce strands
- 6 quart slow cooker
- leaves from approximately 32 twigs of a black walnut tree
- husks from the nuts (I used 26)
- old pillowcase for straining liquid (essential to remove all particles of husks and leaves)
- large plastic container, strainer, large plastic spoon
- this website for reference (walnut, and this thread as well on ravelry)
While the husks were soaking for several days in the large plastic container, I decided to experiment by dyeing with just the leaves.
I stripped the leaves from (32) twigs, covered them with water in the crockpot and simmered them overnight (about 12 hours.) In the morning, I strained out the leaves (through a pillowcase), returned the dye to the crockpot along with 2 ounces of corriedale and simmered it on low for three hours. (The steeped leaves were tossed into my main plastic container along with the soaking husks.)
I gently lifted out the roving and rinsed it in cold water until the water was clear (about three rinses), careful not to agitate the wool. Then I hung it up to dry ... the two lightest braids on the left were from this initial dyeing. This picture was taken in the early morning with natural sunlight:
The middle two skeins were from the the same crockpot liquid as above, but I dyed them twice for a deeper tone. This picture was taken with natural light in the shade:
At this point the liquid was much reduced, so I added some strained, dark brown liquid from the container of soaking husks/leaves and simmered two more ounces of corriedale. My last two batches produced a very similar deep brown. (A little bit of walnut dye goes a long way! I have so much left over!)
I divided each of the two ounce skeins in half because I've decided to spin a 2-ply yarn of each of the three colors. This morning we went back to the park for more leaves so I can try a light/medium/dark with some polwarth top ... the leaves are simmering in the corckpot in the garage as I write.