Sunday, 6 July 2014

Natural Dye - The Yellow Raspberry Experiment

I have a number of white muslins, baby grows and nappies that I thought it would b fun to brighten up by dying, but maternity pay being what it is, when I came to buy dye I decided it was an unnecessary waste of money.  Then while making my blackcurrant sorbet and appreciating the colour of it, I got to thinking about natural dyes.  I did some reading online about different methods of dying, and mordants to use, and then decided to have a go with what I could find in the garden.

White items to dye
My mum had mentioned earlier in the week that she ha a glut of soft fruit if I wanted to pick some so I started there.  She wasn't too keen when I told her it was for dying rather than eating though!  So I started with the yellow raspberries as she had the most of those.

Yellow raspberries waiting to boil

The raspberries are a lovely orangy yellow, I had about a litre of raspberries which I boiled with two litres of water for a couple of hours before straining.  The resultant liquid was more of a peachy orange, but still a nice colour.  I had about a litre of dye mix which wasn't enough for all three items, so I jsut did the muslin and the vest.

Yellow raspberry dye
To prepare the fabric for dying I soaked it in a mordant of salt which is recommended for berries.  I used 1 cup of salt to 4 cups of water and let it soak for a coup,e of hours.  Then rinsed the fabric and left to soak in the yellow raspberry dye over night.

Fabric soaking in dye mix
 After soaking overnight the colour wasn't very strong, and after rinsing it was even weaker.  I anticipate after drying it will be even lighter!

Dyed fabric on a white towel to show colour
 The final colour is a bit of a disappointment.  Sort of a creamy ivory, the kind of colour you can get with a quick tea dip.
Final rinsed fabric
 In summary, yellow raspberry as a dye is not worth it!  If you want to achieve this colour, just use tea.  Not a total loss though, the chickens appreciated the left over raspberry seed mush.

Chickens enjoying yellow raspberry mush

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