"I begin with an idea ... and then it becomes something else"
~ Picasso

Saturday 12 September 2009

Indian summer harvest

No pictures of my walk today - instead I hope you may be be able to picture it

My country walk

an Indian summer
sky the colour of a Siam sapphire
an English country lane
yellow gorse on green spikey stalks
heather in every shade of purple
montbretia golden orange
a dried mud path
horses hoof prints
an ancient granite steeple
all around far reaching views
of an English patchwork
fields of gold, tan, green and mauve
of the sea
from Carbis Bay to Godrevy lighthouse
and St. Ives bay to Zennor
blackberries red, purple, black
serrated leaves of raspberry red
red currants
nasturtiums yellow, orange
cornflowers and scabious blue
wild orchids delicate, bobbing, purple
gossamer soft thistle fluff
dandelion fairies, wispy, floating
a gate
a woodland
soft breeze through the trees
dappled shade
a busy hedgerow
cow parsley seed heads
blackberries gathered

Now for a little work

St. John's Wort berries

A few weeks ago I tried ntural dyeing with St. John's Wort berries, but I didn't feel it was all that successful. At the time, I thought it was probably because the berries were unripe. Last week, walking in the lane, I noticed the berries had turned into pretty reds and deep dark blacks. Time to give it another go

I love the colours of Autumn berries

A single lone St. John's Wort berry

So same method as I showed on previous posts. I use a dedicated aluminium pan, added the berries, covered with just enough water and left it simmering for 15 minutes or so

The dye looked quite promising in the pan

I used mainly natural fabrics - various silk fabrics, cotton, cotton canvas, cotton threads, cotton scrim and some teabag paper that Jackie sent me. Instead of the red I was hoping for, I got brown

When the fabrics were washed and rinsed they were a faded vintage sort of colour

The crushed silk took the dye very well. It's gorgeous and looks like vintage parchment. In the bottom you can see some thistle seed head fluff

I will look forward to using the silk fabrics for the right project, but I was still left feeling disappointed that I didn't achieve a red. The only thing left to do is to repeat these experiments next time with mordanted fabrics. Maybe then, the colours will be stronger and deeper


I tried blackberries next

I added lots of water to the blackberries and boiled for 20 minutes

I've never dyed with blackberries before. I would be really pleased to get a pink, pinky red, red, mauve, purple - any of these! I am hopeful of getting something like that. The dye is very red but I think the fabrics may come out purple - which is lovely!

I used an ice cream tub as a dye bath. I am dyeing lots of scraps and squares of fabrics, as well as larger pieces of cotton and also a large piece which I have tie dyed

I've left it soaking - so I will show you the results in the next post


Unknown said...

I just love to dye things. The last with the berries is awesome. It's almost a raspberrie color. Love the yarn it so so yummie. What a cherished blog you have today. Now I want to get out my yarn and start dyeing. Did you put any vinegar in to help set or what did you use to it doesn't run.

The Garden Bell

Sharne Gregory said...

I look forward to seeing the results from your blackberries. There are plnty on the hedges at the Churchyard. In my new batik book they mentioned dyeing with marigolds, same weight in fabric as flowers. Unfortunaely, I dont have enough of these flowers to try it this year but I will remedy that next year!


Hi, all the fabrics are unmordanted. My experiments at the moment are to try and keep everything completely natural and to see what happens with the fabrics and threads and to see just how dye fast they will be. I plan to use mordants in my experiments next year. For now, I'm dyeing with jut the natural products and natural fabrics

Sharne, I haven't tried marigolds but I like the sound of it. I was very interested in your dyeing experiments with the spices and I'm going to try that too!

I picked up some more montbretia today. I saw some up the lane which was much darker than the ones I have in my garden. They are on the tail end now. The ones I found today were almost a red orange. I wonder what they will bring?

Julie said...

Your walk was beautiful and I'll be interested to see the dyeing results. The silk is a gorgoeus colour.

Joei Rhode Island said...

An early autumn English walk.... lovely.
Funny....I bought some blackberries (having no bushes that fruited this year) and froze them. I wait to see how your simmer method does...I'm going to try the ice method.

Cathy Cullis said...

Such a beautiful post in words and photographs, Carolyn, thank you for sharing.... your natural dye posts are so intriguing and informative, very interesting results also.... Did you mordant any of the fabrics? I'm wondering with the SJW if a mordant would help get a redder tone.... the blackberries results are great, I will share my own blackberry dye results some time soon! What is puzzling me now is how to get black from iris roots so if anyone knows.....:)
thank you again

AeFondKis said...

Carolyn a work of art in prose and dyeing!
Great read!
Linda x

Penny said...

Your post sums up all the things I love about the Autumn countryside. Beautiful!

Pom Pom said...

Hi Carolyn!
What lovely verse for an "eyes wide open" stroll!

Abigail Thomas said...

Such pretty coloured leaves, and your kitchen tap is beautiful!

Chrissie said...

Loved the 'word stroll', and it's fascinating to see the results of your dyeing experiments - almost tempted to try, but I'd probably eat all the blackberries before they got in the dye pot!

vintagerockchick said...

Beautiful coloured leaves! I've been dyeing today too - but I cheated and used prepared dye for buttons - which turned out VERY pink!

Deborah Younglao, Silk Painter said...

Yes I can feel, smell and hear your walk!

I'm surprised too at that you didn't get red with the St. John's wort. Still, it gave a beautiful, natural color. Looks like you'll get great color from the blackberries.

Jacky said...

Cant wait to see the results from the blackberries as I intend to try dyeing with some this summer (we have heaps of wild blackberries on the farm).
The dyeing with the St. Johns Wort (which I'm not sure if I can get here) look good...love the one like antique parchment...very scrummy.
Your walk sounds lovely, thanks for sharing.

Jacky xox

Unknown said...

That blackberry dye looks looks so yummy! And...your depiction of your English countryside is enviable!