Sherbert pink

Here is a rather serendipitous pink. I’d read that the roots of Lady’s Bedstraw give red, which I mistakenly thought was the same as cleavers or Sticky Willy as I grew up calling it, having a Scottish father.The good news is that I’ve cleared a large patch of this weed in the garden, with a grand yield of 2g.

Red roots of Cleavers

It only took an hour and a half! I’d realised my mistake before I started dyeing, but as it looks a bit red and it’s in the same family, I thought I’d have a go and see what I got. I’ve been using this book as a guide, which I bought second hand a few years ago and have finally got round to exploring. It’s full of recipes for the natural dyes used in Scottish tartans.

So I added some alum to the water and the roots, which soon yielded colour.

Cleavers roots in the dyebath

I put in some silk chiffon, merino and silk fibres and some wool. They turned a lovely pink, so I added some silk velvet and a skein of silk. Here are the gorgeous results.

Silk and merino fibres coming out of the dyebath.

Sherbert pinks

The palest pink is the silk velvet. Sometimes it takes the strongest colour, but not this time.It still surprises me how the wool and silk get quite different colours, with the wool tending to be more yellow, while the silk is more blue in tone.

I only got a small amount of dyed materials, but I’m delighted with the results and it makes a change from yellow.


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