Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fruit tree: unknown. Dye potential: known!

Over the weekend I found a good excuse  valid reason to have myself a little campfire. You see, we have a self sown fruit tree growing that I thought was in desperate need of a pruning, so hack at it I did. The leaves are very much nectarine or peach like..I'm not sure which, being self-sown and not having fruited yet. It was bushy and besides tidying it up, I was curious to try using the leaves as a natural dye.

My little campfire was lit in the morning and a generous amount of 'leafage' crammed into the pot. It was then topped up with regular tap water and left to bubble away..

The second pot that was going that day was a eucalyptus leaf dye experiment which didn't turn out how I expected but still provided an interesting shade of grey/brown. A story for another day..

It felt very 'witchy' having two big pots cooking away over an open fire all morning. 

Several hours later, still not sure if the nectarine/peach leaves would do anything, I decided to throw caution to the wind and add the pre-soaked yarn (which had been mordanted with alum) to the steaming pot. 

I left it in there for around 50 minutes, giving it a gentle prod every now and then, ensuring the water didn't come to a boil, so as not to felt the yarn. A quick rummage in the (organised!) craft room yielded a tiny skein of handspun that I also decided to toss into the pot.

Below, the results:
4ply commercial baby merino on the left and handspun alpaca/wool on the right
The dye had worked! Even after rinsing several times, both skeins retained their colour. The commercial yarn seemed to really absorb the colour and was a lot more saturated than the handspun, which gave a softer, more subtle shade of the dye.

I still have no idea exactly what kind of fruit tree we have growing, but knowing that it produces this shade of dye, right here in our own backyard, is cause for much excitement!

20 comments:

  1. Watching all of your dye experiments makes me want to try some of my own. I am currently out of my knitting phase, so I may just try some old sheets. I think I will try it just for the fun and surprise of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The surprise is the best part! Have fun experimenting. :)

      Delete
  2. Just from the leaves? What a great colour.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How cool! What are you going to knit with it now? - K xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm, no idea, Kara. Best to mull it over and pull it out on a chilly winters day. ;)

      Delete
  4. Dye me green....with envy. Looks like fun and such a beautiful color.
    Smiles,
    JoeyLea
    http://thelocustblossom.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Its a pretty colour. Subtle but very pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was loads of fun, JoeyLea!

      Yes, quite subtle Louise, especially when compared to the often garish colours commercial dyes produce.

      Delete
  6. Christine your witchy comment made me laugh...ummmm luckily you were only brewing yarn and not someones bones....I love that you are dying it with natural things and definitely a bonus with the tree right there in your back yard. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia www.oursimpleandmeaningfullife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a pretty colour! So amazing that it comes from the leaves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Finding my inner witch was a real treat, Kathy! If only the neighbour hadn't been mowing his lawn, I may have broken out a cape and hat! Looking around the garden for other dye possibilities now... :)

      Really amazing, Kimbamel! I'm hoping my little tree can stand up to another pruning before winter comes and takes all the foliage away..

      Delete
  8. What a lovely shade of yellow. What a great discovery.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Christine, I recently discovered your blog when searching for information about my new acquired Tarra Carousel spinning wheel (thanks for your response on my blog!). I really love the simplicity of dyeing and what you can use in nature to produce such gorgeous hues. That is on my bucket list....learning how to dye. At the moment I am very busy working full time, knitting, crocheting and practising my new acquired spinning skills, as well, of course, learning how to look after my four spinning wheels, especially placing the drive belts on them so I can get them to work! Cheers, Melanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite a pleasant surprise, Fiona. :)

      Hi there, Melanie, it's so nice to meet another Tarra owner! Wishing you many hours of enjoyment on your new wheel(s)! Is there a local spinning group you can get to? Our local group has opened my eyes to many new and interesting techniques and the members are always happy to share their wisdom with newbies. :)

      Delete
    2. Funny you should mention that. My local spinners and weavers group generally meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month but they have now widened that to the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month so that people who work can attend. I'll be meeting them this afternoon and will be asking lots of questions!

      Delete
  10. I'll be darned :) You really hit the jackpot!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love seeing you create your dye from nature, it reminds me of many a weekend hunting and gathering with my mother who also dyed her own homespun wool.
    Keep your brown onion skins too, you will amazed. Oh and dandilion flowers too!
    Thanks for the lovely memory jog, its my mothers birthday today, and the first since she passed away.
    Thanks again, and I adore the colour, well done :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. It would seem so, Sherri! :)

    Big hugs for you today, N. xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  13. hehehe, I was actually telling the lady that owned the farm we stayed at about your lovely blog. Encouraging her to take a look as she was playing with natural dyes and needed some inspiration. Perfectly timed Christine :-)

    ... and lovely colour you came up with.

    ReplyDelete

Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...