Sunday, 22 May 2011


Oh my, a week without blogging - it was just such a quick week. From the Eurovision Song Contest last Saturday (ah, how I love the Eurovision..) until now has seemed like no time - time flies when you're running round like the proverbial fly, though I can't really recollect what I've been doing, mostly stuff with the kids I suppose, plus the car's MOT and so on. I did a bit of mordanting the other day though before rounding off the week with some dyeing - unseasonal this time, being supermarket blackberries. Mad whim when I was shopping - I'd meant to try wild blackberry dyeing last autumn but didn't get round to it. So that's my blackberry 'soup' above, pretty isn't it? And below is the yarn freshly rinsed and hanging on the kithen tap while I figured out where to hang it to dry, given that it was bucketing down outside again (yes, it's been that kind of week).

I'm completely delighted with the result, it's the most gorgeous pinky lilac, much more intense than I expected. Quite often the colour looks quite strong when wet but as it dries it looks a lot weaker, but this looks hardly any different wet to dry. Water's a funny thing.

I'm so enamoured of this I couldn't stop taking photos of it!

Oh - 'science bit' (to resurrect a prehistoric meme) - as usual I mordanted with alum and cream of tartar. I crushed the blackberries (ha! so satisfying!) , simmered them for about an hour then sieved out the mush and added wet yarn when the dye liquor was cool. Then I brought it back to the boil, before simmering for just over an hour. Then I left it to soak overnight.

It's occurred to me that messing around with natural dyes reminds me a lot of when I was about eight or nine, and my friend Yvonne and I loved the Worst Witch books and used to spend hours down by the burn below her house making 'potions' - pondweed, mud and goodness knows what else mixed up in old bottles.

I'll end with a picture of a few of my results - left to right: horsetails and marigold heads; blackberries; brown onion skins; not sure about the far right one as the label has come off but I think it may have been onion skins too (my first dye attempt).

I'm surprised by the range of colours I've achieved actually. I'm not sure I'm still sticking to the shallows with this now, I may be in up to my knees!

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