Sunday, 25 November 2007

On the left Buckthorn bark and water on the right the same but with woodash lye.
The Bark with woodash lye has now been sitting on the heating pad for two days and the temperature, initially 50degrees C dropped to 40 and has stayed there, just dipping below on the first cold night. The pH of the woodash lye was 11 so I was surprised this morning to find the bark on the heat pad ( dyebath 2) fermenting with bubbles on the surface. The pH is 7-8. The liquid looks a strong reddish brown. I am not sure I am supposed tobe fermenting the brief recipe in Dominique Cardon simply says cover with warm woodash lye for 8 days. It is an old Dutch recipe apparently so if there are any dyers dropping form Holland it woud be interesting toknow if they know of this. Thanks Leena for your comment about lye. I think ( and hope!) you may be right but it would still be interesting to try and get some beech ash just to see if it makes a difference, I suppose it depends on what happens at the end of all this. The Buckthorn bark has to stay heating for 8 days then the wool needs to be immersed iin it for a week turning occasionally. I assumed it should be topped up with water because I have only covered the chips so there won't be much liquid otherwise.
The bark covered with water had a prolonged heat in a slow cooker at the keep warm temperature which keeps it well under the boil. I rarely boil as it so often dulls the colour. Now it loooks rather like rhubarb root what my a friend calls an unky yellow, in other words mustard. I shall dye with that tommorrow I hope.
I am off to an Art Fair now car all loaded so must dash.


  1. I'm trying to get caught up on my blog reading and as usual, your posts are so interesting. Back in the day when I used wood heat (only two years ago but it seems longer) I wondered about making lye from my wood ashes. I never did give this a try though. It is interesting that apparently one can get different results from the ashes of different types of woods!

  2. Hi Leigh-that was a very nice compliment to get on a cold grey monday morning thanks