The first step to natural dyeing is adding mordant, if you’re going to do it.
For this project I chose to mordant 20 of the hanks.
There are 5 hanks of each mordant; no mordant, alum, copper, iron and tin.
Most mordants you can’t see but some you can, like copper, a light green and iron, a rusty brown.
After the mordant is added, all the hanks go into a pot with the crushed cochineal. The mixture is then heated to about 180F for 30 minutes.
I then rinsed the hanks and hung them to dry.
I now have 5 different colors of yarn.
I take a hank from each of the 5 piles and make 5 new piles. One pile is set aside because they are finished. The remaining 4 piles get put into 4 different modifiers. A chemical to change the color after dyeing.
Each chemical is mixed with water and the yarn is placed in the mixture. Modifiers don’t take much time and I don’t heat them up. I used iron, ammonia, vinegar and copper.
These hanks are then rinsed and hung to dry. This whole process took me about a week.