I SWORE I wouldn’t get into dyeing fiber again. I promised myself to concentrate on my knitting alone. Then I got distracted, again.
When not looking at birds and snakes while hiking over the past week, I noticed all the Skunkbush Sumac covered with berries. I love this shrubby plant and and enjoy watching it through all the seasons on my daily hikes around Prescott. On today’s hike, I collected about a cup and a half of them, leaving plenty for the birds and mice.
Our wild rosebushes (you know, the ones that our hybrids reverted to when we didn’t know enough about how to coddle the pricey ones) are producing blooms in abundance right now, so just for good measure, I grabbed a bunch of petals and threw them into the pot with the sumac berries.
After simmering the lot for a few hours, I’ll let it steep, and then refrigerate, or even freeze the dye, after straining it through a coffee filter. I’ll try solar dyeing some of the hand spun I made recently during “World Wide Knit in Public Days” at the Prescott Farmers Market.
By the way, if you’re in or near Prescott, come out to the Market on June 8 and 15, 2013 and knit, crochet or spin with us. More details available on the Prescott Knitters forum on Ravelry, on the Prescott Knitters Facebook page or in this post in AboutPrescottArizona.com.
Various sources say that no mordanting is necessary with sumac, so I’ll just wet my fiber skeins (some cotton and wool) and toss them into a zip lock bag and let them sit in the sunshine.
A note on the color: the dye was a pretty orange color for about an hour. Upon closer inspection, it is very brown now. I’m thinking of adding some turmeric to the pot.
More after the Farmers Market when I’ll share results.
By the way, the Montana Natural History Center has a good series of pictures and descriptions of Rhus trilobata here.