|No mordant; from left, no modifier, acid modifier, alkaline modifier|
I followed the general instructions for dyeing with bark from Jenny Dean's Wild Color. The bark (over a pound of it) soaked for about two weeks, then I simmered it for an hour. After the dye bath cooled a bit, I strained out the bark, added the yarn (Cascade 220), and simmered that for an hour. I left the yarn in the dye bath overnight, then applied modifiers. After a good rinse, I hung it over the tub to dry.
|Alum mordant; from left, no modifier, acid modifier, alkaline modifier|
In my past dyeing attempts, the colors are never as differentiated as in the book. I wondered if maybe the mordanted yarn was "contaminating" the unmordanted yarn, so this time I kept the alum-mordanted yarn separate from the unmordanted yarn by dividing the dye bath into two pots. It didn't seem to make much difference.
|Iron modifier; from left, alum mordant, no mordant|
An acid modifier is supposed to make the tone more yellow; an alkaline modifier is supposed to make the tone more rosy. I never have much luck with these modifiers, however. I even check the pH of the afterbaths with litmus paper. Since the differences are so subtle, I may just abandon that effort. Iron as a modifier is another matter; it always produces a dramatic effect.
|Eight distinct (if subtle) shades|
I was disappointed that the color was more of a soft tangerine than a red. Dyeing with natural materials almost always results in tans, yellows, and greens. I don't wear these colors, but since I started weaving, I can see using them on my loom for items of home decor.