bracken

I have no idea why, but bracken has always given me, um, the creeps. Perhaps as a child it made me think of unfurling fingers which appeared in the nightmares I was prone to as a little. (It's not the only plant to do that, cotoneaster is the other...ugh.) Anyway, if it works for me as a dye plant then I might be able to make friends with it.

This was another lazy dye experiment. I cut them down as the dye garden was being cleared, and forgot to weigh them before putting them in water to soak. After two days I put the pot onto boil then left overnight to cool.

The dyebath was a lovely caramel colour, and that's pretty much what happened to the yarn too.

I was on a hunt to try and get brown (I have a particular project in mind), so I put on my brave face and made an iron dip. Especially brave since this was my first time trying it, and I was working with a full 115g skein of North Ronaldsay worsted weight wool. Ha.

The dip started off as 60ml of hot water with 1/4 tsp of iron, but it quickly became obvious that it was going to make no difference at all. I upped it to 1 tsp, and then 2 tsp, at which point it started to change quickly and I whipped it out when I liked the colour. Not quite what I hoped for, but nice all the same.

starting to change...

starting to change...

um...definitely changed...

um...definitely changed...

The iron dipped yarn on the left, next to the pre-dipped braken dyed yarn.

The iron dipped yarn on the left, next to the pre-dipped braken dyed yarn.

I'm making a wee note to make sure I split my sample skeins, so I can take one out of the dyebath and have another to experiment with...

The details:

bucket of fresh braken, steeped in water for two days, then simmered for an hour and left overnight to cool
115g of wool yarn, pre-mordanted with alum and cream of tartar
simmered for an hour in braken dyebath
iron dip added of 100ml water and gradually up to 2 tsp of iron, held below a simmer for 5 minutes