Getting ready to finally try my first dyebath, using the buckthorn berries I salvaged at the end of winter (they've been in the freezer for the past week; I figured if they went through the winter outside on the trees, the freezer wouldn't change the structure any!)
I wanted to be able to tell whether the dyebath was acidic or alkaline, but didn't have any manufactured test strips handy. Fortunately, I came across the about.com writeup on making test strips from red cabbage, so my daughter and I did that last night.
We tested various known pH substances this morning and got beautiful hot pink for acidic, purple for neutral, blue-green for somewhat alkaline and yellow for very alkaline. (I took lots of pictures, if I ever get a chance I'll put them up with more details.) Our filter paper was natural brown-colored, not bleached white, so our colors probably look a bit different than people who use white paper.
If I can get the courage up to start, today I'll simmer the berries, soak the wool in an alum mordant, and in the late afternoon be ready to find out what color I get!!