Monday, 10 October 2011

Making Monday - ssh, it's a secret

What I'm making on this Making Monday is a birthday present for my daughter - it's alright, she can't read yet, so I can hide it in the middle of this post and she won't spot it if this tab happens to be open (I am the tab queen - my husband laughs at how many tabs I have open at a time) .

This week I had foraging-and-dyeing success and foraging-and-baking success.

Foraging-and-dyeing was with elderberries. Now I'm ashamed to admit this but I'm rubbish at recognising trees, shrubs and wildflowers, so I take photos of plants I'm curious about, email them to my dad and get him to do the identification. It's not urban ignorance, I do have reason for this - most of those plants don't grow in Shetland or not in my bit anyway so I just didn't grow up knowing them. I did introduce my mother-in-law to the joys of popping seaweed à la bubble-wrap though so I have my own incredibly useful plant skills!

Anyway, using the 'ask Dad' methodology I've learned to identify elderberries (yay! go me!) so went and gathered a small pot of the for dyeing purposes. I squished them up a bit (with a tattie masher) before simmering for an hour, cooled a bit, strained the mush out, added the alum-mordanted wool, simmered for another hour, then left to soak overnight. And this is what I had next morning:

But I was still after green, so pretty though the pink was, it was time for an alkaline modifier. This time, this time, I would be careful.

That's it a few minutes after it went into the soda-crystal solution. Initially it was quite a nice grey, then gradually turned greener. I warmed it (not even reaching simmering point really) for a few minutes, let it cool, then rinsed in a fresh soda-crystal solution. And here's the result:

Yay! Green! It doesn't photograph all that well but it's a soft sage green and I'm very happy with it. And as the majority of elderberries I've seen round here are still at the green stage I have plenty of time to try a pink dye too.

I was flicking through a dye-book while eating my dinner last night (pitta-bread pizza, my new default quick and easy dinner) and it said that alkaline modifiers shouldn't be heated when using animal fibres so I'll have to try without heat another time, maybe when I try the red cabbage again. It would certainly take the stress out of it.

And now, I'll just sneak my daughter's birthday present in here:

Yes, a 'Noro' stripe scarf using Mochi Plus in 'bright rainbow' or some such name. I'm knitting it only when she's not around so it's a proper surprise, but I've only got a few days to get it done. Over the weekend I've obviously been knitting only in the evenings once she was in bed, so today was the first time I've seen it in daylight - very zingy!

And now after that colourful interlude, back to my foraging adventures, this time foraging-and-baking. Miss Mouse and I went out brambling yesterday and yesterday evening I made apple and blackberry crumble. Crumble is another of those things I've never made before but Mum emailed me her recipe so I had a go and oh my! - it was lovely. I mean droolingly delicious, perfect comfort food for a cold wet evening.

I think I'll be making it again.


Trekky said...

The noro stripe scarf is beautiful! It looks great.

Your post reminded me of the great fun I used to have with my cousins putting seaweed in the fire to try to get the popping to scare the oldies! :)

blurofwoodsmoke said...

How have you never made crumble? Crumble is awesome!
I love the scarf.
I was hoping to get on with another Irish Hiking Scarf at knitting group tonight, but I just burnt my right thumb and first 2 fingers so I will be on juice-drinking and biscuit-eating only I think!

LJ @ said...

Oooooh I love that scarf! Where did you get the yarn?

You're mega clever for dying with natural stuff, way beyond me! Its beautiful. What else do you use to dye with?

Peeriemoot said...

Trekky, I don't remember doing that with seaweed, talk about a missed opporunity!

Ms Woodsmoke, it was lovely to see you last week :-). I'm a recent crumble convert (never liked it as a kid) hence never having made it before!

LJ, I can't remember where I got the yarn but it was somewhere online. Natural dyeing is much easier than it looks (and it took me years to get round to trying). I've had my best results from onion skins :-D.