Well, I have come to the end of this round of dyeing with one last fling. A fruit fling, no less. I decided that my Big Bin o' Natural Dye Yarn needed some pink, so after poking through my books, I decided to try raspberries.
Now, I know that there are other tried-and-true methods of getting pink: cochineal and brazilwood. I worked with cochineal this Summer and it does give pink, but what I got was a more mauve-y/lavender-y pink. Brazilwood apparently gives a truer pink, but it has become very hard to get. As much as I'd like to try it, I am a bit nervous at the thought of using it and contributing to the loss of trees. I don't know if it has been overharvested or if it has become collateral damage from rainforest deforestation, but without more research into ecological correctness the matter, I am hanging back. Dharma Trading Company has none for sale and I count that as a dubious sign.
One of my dyeing books, however, has an easy recipe for dyeing with blackberries. That got me thinking about using other berries, such as raspberries. I had one skein of Lamb's Pride left from last weekend that was ready to dye (I mordanted it with alum), so I figured why not try raspberries?
I bought two packages of frozen berries from Safeway. I got the organic kind mostly because the berries were frozen without sugar or any other additives. I dumped both packages in warm water and mushed them up with my hands as they thawed out to crush them. I then simmered for a hour or so, and steeped for an additional hour. I strained and crushed the remains. I added the yarn and simmered for about an hour and a half. I then let it sit another hour. When I checked, it seemed the right shade, so I took it out--no overnight this time. This is what resulted:
This skein was rinsed until the water was clear. I added a little soap in the first rinse to make sure it was really clear. PINK!
The raspberries were a bit spendy, so I got a skein of Cascade Eco Wool and with exhaust dye it this weekend and try and really get my money's worth from the dyepot. I also like that pink color, so that last rationalization is my story and I am sticking to it!
This experiment has got me thinking about next season. My mom has two plum trees--a Satsuma and a Santa Rosa--and both give very red juice. She usually has more plums than she knows what to do with, so I will likely try plums as a dyestuff, if I can time a trip right.
This will likely be my last dye batch for a couple weeks at least. I am starting to think up projects for this yarn and I need to get my dyebook started to keep track of what I've done before I forget any more than I already have. The weather is turning here, and now the season for cozy fires, good books, fun movies and handwork projects is almost here. Time to knit what was dyed!