Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dye - Mulberries

This one seemed like a sure win; mulberries stain our family's hands and feet for half the summer each year, and the stain takes days to wear off the skin.

I gathered about 2 cups of mulberries and soaked them in water to ferment for 3 weeks (took me a while to get back to them...) I did not add vinegar (we were out).

Fermented mulberries

After three weeks, I strained the quite fermented mixture and added it to a 1:4 vinegar:water dyepot, then added 129g alum-mordanted wool (from Smoky Mountain Fibers, like all my other wool samples so far) and slowly raised the temperature.

Mulberry extract

The dye extract was certainly a beautiful color, and my first peek at the wool looked really good!

Mulberry-dyed wool

After simmering for 1 hour, I removed the wool and dried thoroughly. My notes say I should have dried it without rinsing, then rinsed the wool several days later... but I think I forgot that step and rinsed it well. I also may have overheated the dyepot, I think it started boiling at one point. I read that if the pH goes above 7 it can produce a grayish color instead of pink, so maybe that contributed to the color, although I did add vinegar to the dyepot.

Mulberry-dyed wool

What a miserable color! The worst yet, and out of the dyestuff I'd had the highest hopes for... of course, if I was going to felt this and make miniature toys or something it would probably be perfect for some skin tones.

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