Plum Pine 2: Mordant and Modifiers

Having had success with a test dyebath, I made a point of returning to Botanic Park to collect more fruit on weekend, en route to celebrating World Wide Knit in Public Day.  I dyed some grey corriedale locks in my test bath and they went from grey to a dull brownish shade, so I opted for superwash + alum and silk as the most likely candidates for success. I mordanted sock yarn of antiquity (picked up at a garage sale) and prepared another dyebath.  I regard sock yarn as a no risk option.  If I knit socks for a friend, I can make an open offer to re-dye at any point they fade to an unacceptable shade (and I can ask how they’re faring under normal wear and washing).


The dye bath looked fantastic.


I ran two baths with this fruit, because the first one produced purple on my alum mordanted skeins of sock yarn (wool-nylon).  I pulled it out of the bath after dark and in artificial light it looked quite brown. So I dropped the skeins back in the bath for the night and put test samples into an iron bath and a vinegar bath. Next morning the sock yarn was purple! The exhaust dyebath was a lighter and browner shade of mauve.  I apologise for these photos but it’s winter here and sunlight is in short supply.


My tiny skeins of silk thread came out various shades of rose pink through to magenta too… and I have embarked on an embroidery project, so that was exciting.  The shades on the right are both using vinegar in the dyebath.


The modifiers were interesting: the wool+alum strand was noticeably more purple with vinegar and noticeably more brown/grey with iron, which is, I think, about what should be expected.  So… a promising beginning to experiments with a new dye plant–but with no sense yet of how washfast or lightfast it might be.



Filed under Dye Plants, Natural dyeing

7 responses to “Plum Pine 2: Mordant and Modifiers

  1. I know nothing about dyeing, but I find your experiments fascinating. Really enjoy reading about them.


  2. Very nice! The colours are beautiful. What a great experiment!


    • It’s been fun! I am interested by the differences in experimenting on my own with no anticipated audience, and experimenting and sharing through the blog. I sure love following others’ experiences.


  3. This is absolutely amazing and makes me wish i had time to dye my own yarn.
    I want to add that someone wonderful nominated me, so in turn i am spreading the love and I have nominated you for the WordPress Family Blog Award! Thanks for your pearls of wisdom 🙂


  4. Pingback: Plum Pine 5: Lightfastness | Local & Bespoke

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