Can I brag, just a little? I am so in love with the gorgeous eco dyed patterns on this op shop wool blanket. I keep holding it and stroking it, marvelling in all the leaf prints and patterns. I can see a forest goddess face, branches of leaves and tracks in the earth.
You know there are some days that are just lucky. The day I went op shopping in East Bentleigh was one of the lucky days. I was looking for white wool and silk to eco dye. And I found both! There were two silk dresses in one shop and two white blankets with blue stripes on the edges at another op-shop. I had just enough money to buy one of each plus a white long sleeved cotton top. For so long, white was not on my shopping list. Now I'm a mad eco-dyer and white is most definitely at the top of my list!
I trimmed off the blue stripes on the edges of the blanket and then cut it in half. I bundled one half with gum leaves (the incredible oranges are from the star of the eco-dyeing show - Eucalyptus cinerea), acacia pods and rusty bits of metal and then wrapped the whole shebang around a rusty old tin can. The whole lot was popped into a stainless steel pot and boiled for a good 5 hours. I didn't add any other leaves to the pot as I have done with most of my experiments so far - I was interested to see what would happen without the added colour in the dye bath.
After it boiled and then sat in the pot for a few days I began to worry. The lovely old lady at the op shop who sold me the blanket was alarmed when I told her my plans. She learnt to wash clothes in a an old copper (I'd give me eye teeth for one of those to use outdoors over a big open fire!) in a country town and was told to never boil wool. I worried the wool would felt together. I worried there would be no prints (a recent adventure dyeing on a llama wool shawl yielded no leaf prints and little colour).
My luck held - the blanket didn't felt together and gave me the most amazing leaf prints. It's my faith and trust blanket - have faith in the process and trust the result will be exactly what you need.