Thursday, 6 December 2007

Fermenting buckthorn bark.

Last Sunday, a week after I started fermenting the buckthorn bark chips in woodash lye, I topped the chips up with more water, added lye to keep the Ph at about 8. I actually added a bit too much and it was pH 9 however when I added 50g of premordanted wet merino tops it went back to 8. I just hope that a week in a fermenting alkaline vat won't destroy the fibres. For good measure I also added a piece of satin chiffon, although I thought that with both the wool and silk in together I might not get such a good colour on the silk, as happens with madder. However I was in a "what the hell mood" so in it went!

The stainless steel pan the chips are in are still on a heated pad. With more water in the temperature has dropped to fairly consistent 35 degrees C rather than the 40-45 degrees I was getting with just a little fluid.

Something a bit odd is happening. As you can see from the photograph, ( taken with a flash so the colours are a bit on the red side ) , the fibres where they are submerged are a deep golden yellow. Where they are exposed to the air a reddish brown.
The fabric to the left is the silk. The wool is to the right front and at the back right there is a small amount of the cotton muslin holding the chips exposed too. The unmordanted cotton is a good yellow too! You can also see the thermometer sticking out.
Incidentally the buckthorn bark dyed the normal way overdyed in indigo has given some lovely greens . The exhaust yelllows overdyed have given a turquoise. When the fibres are dried and we get some sun (!) I will put up a photograph. So all in all I am very pleased with the colours from buckthorn bark. A most underated dye plant at least by me until now.

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