I've finally gotten around to taking pictures of the yarn that we dyed for the September 21st "Seasonal Colors" natural dyeing demonstration here at Wild Rose Farm.
On the 9/20 post we were getting ready for the demonstration and had prepared onion skin, sumac, osage orange, and goldenrod dyebaths. On Sunday the 21st, the Western Pennsylvania Unit of the Herb Society of America descended on the farm. http://www.herbsociety.org/cms_unit.php?order_by=UNIT&unit_id=57
What an organization! The Hospitality Committee arrived and in no time, chairs and tables were set up on the lawn and the wrap-around porch. Tablecloths, a coffee pot, coolers, and covered dishes appeared. I didn't do a head count, but there were around 25 people in attendance during the business meeting. After the meeting, the program began. We talked about the farm in general and then had a discussion & demonstration of natural dyeing techniques with locally available "vegetable dyes". With such a diverse group, we managed to have some knitters, a hand spinner, and a few folks who had also experimented with natural dyeing joining in on the discussion. After the program ended we had a great potluck meal and everyone was free to wander around while we finished the onion skin dyebath over a fire. I really had a great time with the group. Amazingly, the clean-up was so efficient that once they all departed, you wouldn't have known that they were here at all! Thanks to all who attended. The long distance travel distinction for an in state member was from Clarion County and the long distance travel distinction from out of state was Kentucky!
Looking at the picture of 6 skeins from left to right, the dye materials/mordants used for each are:
Onion skins/tin pre-mordant, goldenrod/alum pre-mordant, onion skins/alum pre-mordant, fermented sumac berries/alum pre-mordant, sassafras bark/alum pre-mordant, & osaage orange/alum pre-mordant in copper pot. Click on the picture to enlarge!
A note on the sumac berries .... I had forgotten that I left them to soak in a stainless steel pot in May. In the rush to get ready for my May shows, this dyepot was never finished. Well ...... when I opened the pot there was a nice slime on top of the dye liquor that I had boiled in May. I drained off the dye liquor and dumped out the fermented berries. The result was a brown that some would mistake as coming from black walnuts, but it's not as "sharp" as a walnut brown, it's more of a mousy brown. Bottom line is that red sumac berries don't make red dye .....
Oh yes, the red dye-bath in the 9/20 post was from poke berries. We pointed out that although most people think that they would make a good dye, they are considered a "fugitive" dye. Simply put, they make a nice stain on your shirt, but they aren't truly colorfast.