Saturday, 5 September 2009

dyeing with alder buckthorn berries

I finally found a dry spot to pick the first batch of my alder buckthorn berries. quite a few ripe ones had already dropped, but I managed about 1 kg of ripe, black berries. the stuff is sticky beyond belief; after picking for half an hour I had trouble pulling the fingers of my right hand apart! I put them into cold water over night - and simmered them lightly for about one hour the day after. when they had cooled, I strained them through an old fabric nappy and pressed them out well.
this is how the dyebath looks with the first batch of fibres inside. well, the photo is taken with a flash - the real colour is more purple, less blue. unfortunately the yarn/fibres don't stay the same strong colour....

these are the tops after rinsing (simmering for an hour and letting the dye bath cool). on the left is nz lamb top, in the middle mulberry silk and on the right viscose top. all three had the same alum mordant treatment! the wool is slightly greener in reality, but the other two shades are pretty close! this was the first time I dyed anything but wool with the rhamnus berries - and I was rather surprised at the result! though it's not uncommon for dyeplants to result in different colours on wool and silk.
this is a larger pic of the wool top - which took the dye rather blotchily (which I don't mind, as it makes a lively colour in the yarn later); this happened with the rhamnus before. don't know why though as I stirred regularly and don't have that problem with other dyes (on the same material!). the colour is stronger in reality, even though I took the picture outside. but with the grey weather over here even natural dyes look slightly depressing:))
the real winners are the silk and the viscose top though - I love purples and blues and though the dye wasn't taken up totally evenly on those two fibres either, I am still looking forward to spinning the batch. I put more silk and viscose into the dye bath, because it was still very dark - we'll see how this lot turns out.
I am also working on a large fibre order from wollpoldi. lots of new stuff and my greedy ordering finger is ticking wildly:)) but if the postage is the same for 11 or 12 kg - or up to 20, it would be stupid to waste the "empty space"?:))
back to working on my miniature - which is close to impossible to see without a daylight lamp even when the sun comes out for a few minutes...


Helen said...

Hi Bettina what fabulous colours and how fascinating that the silk took the colours so much better I wonder whether you would get a deeper colour on the wool if dyed on it's own.
I had not thought of using alder buckthorn berries any idea on the lightfastness? best wishes Helen

Guzzisue said...

Hi Bettina, can you drop me a line using the e-mail addy on my blog? may have a homeless eskimo doll soon looking for adoption :-)

Woolly Bits said...

Helen, so far I had only used the berries on wool, but the tops from the last two years were fine, no problems with fastness. those were "greener" though, which might mean that the yellow pigment might be more lightfast than the blue. I'll test it and let you know. I also saw a difference between using frozen and fresh ripe berries- the latter produced much nicer colours! much room for testing - but I had similiar differences in colour uptake with the flowers of black hollyhock. similar pigments maybe? I have to check the "schweppe" about that...

Guzzisue - will do:))