Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Dying with Four-Wing Evening-Primrose
An old friend dropped by the shop and asked if I had ever dyed with Tsukimiso (Moon Watching Grass) or in English, a common variety of Four Wing Evening Primrose. I hadn't even heard of it. She said that it dyed a deep purple after having the initial yellow pigment removed in boiling water then in the second boiling being decocted in an alkaline dye bath and then reducing the pH with vinegar and finally mordanted with iron.
You can only get the dark color before the flower buds form in late spring. It sounded like a real pain in the ass to dye with. However, asking around the village it turns out it grows in the gravel on the stream bank just 50 meters from the front door.
The results were great on silk produced last spring. It dyed a pale yellow and instantly went dark purple in the iron mordant. Amazing reaction. On the right side of the picture you can see the pale yellow and on the left side the iron mordanted purple.