The generosity of dyers never seizes to amaze me. As well as having friends full of knowledge and advice to whatever dye enquiry I might have, I have been lucky to receive dye plants I have no access to experiment with. Last week I received a parcel of Bog Myrtle (myrica gale) sent to me from Scotland by Julie of Black Isle Yarns. Opening up the parcel the smell was gorgeous, not something you can usually say of a decaying plant that has been travelling for days.
I had to wait a few more days to finally get it in my dye pot. The bath was a mix of leaves as well as twigs. Although the leaves had started to turn brown, I had hopes for good colour.
I simmered the bog myrtle for an hour and a half and measured the PH which was 7. Previously I had dyed with some heather from Scotland and the dye bath PH went down to 4 so I made sure to it check this time also, just in case. My water is neutral/alkaline so an acidic dip without modifiers is always interesting.
The dye liquid turned a dark brown and I left it to cool down a little before straining out the leaves and twigs.
I dyed a variety of fibres, most pre mordanted with alum apart from some roving and a piece of cotton. As there was a bunch of twigs amongst the bath, tannins were present to act as natural mordant. I simmered my fibres for an hour and left them to cool overnight. The results were lovely buttery yellow, a lot stronger on the merino/nylon as well as the silk. The un mordanted cotton and roving stayed quite light in colour.