Well, we couldn’t have asked for better weather, considering the torrential downpours and buffeting winds of the last two years- no tying down of the gazebo and getting members, dressed in raincoats and wellies, to sit on chairs holding down the flapping side panels .
Although the sun didn’t appear till later, there was a warmth and calmness to the day even though the results of the dyeing weren’t always what was expected. We all put it down to the water!
This time we were looking at substantive dyeing; dyeing without any mordant.
A little more information about the two types of dyeing with plants can be found here .
Familiar things on the list –
Some things not quite so familiar –
And three from our earlier in the year talk by Cathy O’Brien
The parmelia is found on the uplands, mainly on drystone walls; xanthoria is found on old trees; the cladonia, we’re not sure which one as there are so, so many, was found in the carpark by the beach! Some lichens are rare and are protected, so if you fancy trying this out, check first.
The dyepots were set up……..there were more but I got over-excited and missed a few.
These were brought up to boiling and then strained
Yarn was added
You might notice from the last photo that not all the dyebaths had been strained before adding the fibre. This was comfrey and quite a few hilarious minutes were passed trying to get the leaves out.However, one must note, even Harris Tweed cloth and garments have the occasional bit of vm in there so we are in good company!
One of the dyebaths was elder buckthorn bark to which was added soda ash. Skeins of yarn were added and this will be fermented over 3 to 4 weeks. This solution can’t be boiled as the wool will simply disintegrate.
Jean had prepared some examples of what we could expect
The skeins, once removed from the dyepots were rinsed and hung out to dry in the glorious sunshine.
Some of ours did not achieve the same vibrancy as the examples. The xanthoria parietina should change from pink to blue as it oxidises in the air, and ours wasn’t quite there, even though several people said they could see it (Specsavers comes to mind). And our woad, well, what can be said? Quite a failure! But that sparks an idea perhaps, for next year!
One strange result was Mary’s labels. All started off white and look how the different dyes were taken up
There are many books about natural dyeing. The go-to book, of course, is Jenny Dean’s Wild Colour
More about natural dyeing can be found here
And, if you want know what flowers you can grow for dyeing, with recipes, look at this book
Thanks to Alan Silverside for the most wonderful photos of lichens at Last Dragon Lichen
Thanks also to Hazel and Gwilym for donating the aronia berries at Aerona
Thanks to Ann Shingles for the use of her home in a beautiful location,
Thanks to Jean Rickford who has to plan, provide, manage,and organise our day (and us). She does it superbly ,too.