Dyeing for Blueberries
|This book provides a wonderful introduction to creating and
using plant-based dye.
A little over a year ago, full of creative aspirations, I purchased a book at my local Barnes and Noble. Entitled Natural Dyeing, this work is a well-organized, clear, and visually appealing guide to using fruits, roots, leaves, and other natural products to create colorful raw fiber, fabric, and yarn. This weekend I finally took the time to experiment with dyeing wool yarn with blueberries I had in the freezer—fruit which was a couple of years old, shriveled, and dehydrated.
While Jackie Crook, the author of Natural Dyeing, does not give specific instructions for dyeing blueberries, I followed the general directions she provided for using blackberries. I’ll share some instructions here, but be aware that there are different processes for different types of fiber, and that some substances, such as indigo, require vat dyeing—a procedure different from the one I used. The author of this beautifully designed and informative book, however, does encourage fiber artists to experiment—as I did a bit with my project, since I used blueberries instead of blackberries and yarn, rather than the raw fiber suggested in her chapter on blackberry-based dye.
|I wound my yarn on an old-fashioned yarn winder, so that it would open up to absorb dye. Be sure to
tie hanks of yarn in several places, to avoid tangling.
|Add a few drops of laundry detergent to the hanks of yarn and let soak, then rinse.
|Let the water with the mordant and the yarn simmer for an hour, and then let sit,
|Simmer the wool in the dye bath for one hour. If you want consistent color, be
sure to stir a bit. Cool until yarn reaches desired color.
|Rinse the yarn in water that is the same temperature as the
cooled dye bath. Notice how the hue really changes after
|Hang up to dry.
|Wind into ball and start knitting!