Friends far to the south of us have told me that they have only a couple of weeks to harvest their haskap orchard before the berries begin to shrivel. A couple of days ago I took these photos in our orchard. We have several hundred plants which have not been harvested. While the berries do not have the same firmness as when they were first ripe, they are still juicy and flavourful and awaiting our final harvest and will be boiled down, perhaps even in the field, for dyeing wool later in the winter.
We also harvested a great amount of dwarf sour cherries and are interested in seeing how colour-fast these will be as well…
I have not found any recipes for dyeing wool with haskap other than the one I posted a couple of months ago. That post used table salt as a mordant and was based on the best information on dyeing with dark berries that I could find on the internet. I now have a couple of books (Adrosko and Duerr). These do not contain information on dyeing with haskap. But Duerr’s does have a recipe for dyeing with blackberries. Knowing from personal experience how blackberries can stain I decided to use this recipe as a baseline recipe.
Here’s what I did:
(1) Drain Mordanted Wool – Yesterday when mordanting I could not tell if the odour that hung in the air there was because the paint was burning off of the new propane heater, or was due to the mordant. After allowing the mordanted wool to cool in the mordanting bath overnight I removed the lid and could smell the strong presence of sulphuric acid (H2(SO4)). I drained the wool. Then I rinsed the wool several times with clean, soft water.
(2) Making Dye Liquor – Weighing my fabric, I matched that with an equal weight of haskap berries. Berries were covered with water, brought to a boil, then simmered (180F) for 30 minutes. This was then sieved and set to cool.
(3) Dyeing Wool – Once the haskap dyeing liqueur is cool, add premordanted fibre. Fully cover the wool with water. Bring the bath up to a simmer and hold it there for 30 minutes. Remove the dye pot from the heat. Remove the wool and set it aside to drain, wash with a pH-neutral soap, rinse thoroughly, hang to dry.
‘…you will find endless interesting projects where you will be able to work with both fiber and dyes from scratch. When making something with your own hands, you have the chance to reflect on modern culture, which typically relies on store-bought, mass-produced textiles.’
– ‘Making Slow Textiles’ in The Handbook Of Natural Plant Dyes, Sasha Duerr