As I mentioned in a previous post, I stumbled on a black walnut tree in my neighborhood and filled a few bread bags with nuts for dyeing. i wanted to use the cold water method so I filled an empty cat litter bucket with water and let the hulls soak for several days. Then I added one skein of superwash wool/nylon sock yarn and a few fat quarters and let time do its thing.
I left the items in the dye bath for almost a week. The fabric turned a light greyish brown. I did not use a mordant because walnut has a lot of tannins but I wonder if I would've gotten a brighter color if I had. it's a pain to mordant cotton because you're supposed to first pre-mordant, then mordant, then dye. i haven't gotten great results on these white-on-white overdyes with natural dyes. I think because of the lengthy soaks the dye ends up penetrating the printed portion so the print looks a little dull. the subtlety might end up useful in a quilt though.
The light FQ on top was dyed with coffee for comparison. I still have the dye bath going, so I'm considering dyeing another batch that has been mordanted to see if there is any difference. supposedly when you dye both animal and vegetable fibers together the dye will strike on the animal fibers first, so in theory the wool may have been "stealing" color from the fabric. but the dye bath is so concentrated i doubt it would have really mattered all that much. i probably will dye another batch of cotton-only before i throw out the dye bath just to be sure.
The yarn soaked up the dye brilliantly. I adore this rich reddish brown color. This skein has 450 yards and will make a very lovely pair of socks. Because i had such great success on wool I dyed another batch with spinning fiber and it is drying now. i got some rather interesting results that i'll share a little later on.