Monday, December 04, 2006

Blackberry The Recipe

Ok, remember that Red Onion Cane, well, this is that cane dyed again with Blackberries. The top photo is the cane dry, bottom is the cane still wet.
This is what I did.
  1. First I soaked the cane in Tara Powder (a source for Tannin) over night, more on this in another post;
  2. I took 18 ozs of Blackberries and while still whole added them to my nylon stocking pouches;
  3. I then smashed the blackberries in the dye pot, so you don't loose any of the juice that comes out from smashing them;
  4. I then added 2 gals of water to the smashed Blackberries in my dye pot;
  5. I left the cane in the dye for 2 days, that was 2 nights and 2 days total and removed them.

When you do not heat the dye pot this is known as the cold method of dyeing and you can do this with some natural materials but not all.

After I removed the cane from the dye pot, I then added some honeysuckle to it, the honeysuckle likewise had been soaked for at least over night in the Tannin solution; I should have enough dye color to also get a nice red color on this, but we will see.

The Tannin Solution is suppose to help the dye from fading as it usually does after several days. On the honeysuckle test I did with the cane, the dye eventually got so light you could no longer even see it. Tannin is suppose to help prevent this. Tannin is what is called a pre-mordant or a mordant; in most sources I have read tannin applied either first or with the dye material is a mordant for vegetable fibers, more on this later as well. Tannin is also used as a pre-mordant for alum on vegetable fibers, you soak your cane in Tannin over night, then soak it in an Alum solution over night, then add it to your dye pot. Takes longer but it is suppose to really help your dye adhere to a vegetable fiber.

Likewise you will notice that in this dye pot I did not add salt. Salt is known as a leveling agent, it makes the dye apply evenly on the fibers, so I will have to try this in my next blackberry dye batch. Now depending on how dark the honeysuckle gets, I will probably also at some point boil the blackberries for about 10 to 15 minutes and see if the fruit will bear any more dye. In some cases, heat will extract more color from the dye stuff and you will get a faster dye than using the cold method. After you boil the dye stuff, you place your cane into the dye pot and let it set at least over night or longer depending on how deep of a color you want. It also appears at some point the fibers just don't accept any more dye.

No comments: