Punica granatum, écorce de grenade, Granatapfelschale, cáscara de granada, craiceann pomegranáit
I’ve had quite a stock of dried pomegranate peel sitting around in the larder (I refuse to call it a “pantry” as most Australian-born do – sounds too much like something out of Upstairs Downstairs and we don’t have a maid). So, after obtaining a beige tone on alpaca yarn some time ago, I wasn’t expecting anything more.
I used 200% wof on wool, and chose the bits of rind with the reddest colouring. The alkaline modifier (skeins 3 & 4) darkended the colours, whilst the acid modifier (5 & 6) lightened them. Skeins 1, 3 & 5 demonstrate that no mordant is required. Each shade obtained is, however, worthy in its own right and in real life all are far more vivid.
I had read somewhere that pomegranate, being high in tannin, is also worth consideration in making turmeric more light-fast… Wonder what it will do for alkanet? I just had to try, so in the dye bath mentioned in the previous post, six doppelgangers (that doesn’t seem right without the umlaut, aber ich bin sicher, Ihr konnt es mir vergeben) were thrown in for an overdye.
The original shades of pomegranate alone were strong and I suppose I should’ve repeated the experiment with yellow rind, and maybe at 100% wof. Oh well, let’s just shove some skeins in the pot and see what we get…
…more interesting shades with pinky (and perky) overtones. The light-fast testing will be interesting. Tomorrow’s been downgraded to 41oC (how cool…) whilst Sunday is still forecast to be 42oC. Even if it stays below that, there’s plenty of UV around for the test.
Just as an aside, I “marked” the pre-dyed pomegranate skeins with some bits of other wool. How did they emerge from the alkanet bath? GREY AND PURPLE! Grr!!!
Anchusa tinctoria, orcanette, rothe Ochsenzunge, alcana, boglas
I don’t think I’ve had quite as much linguistic fun and dyepot surprises from any one plant before. While looking up names of alkanet in other languages, I went from English through Irish to ancient Greek, then back to German and Swedish. Let me explain…
The variety/varieties of Anchusa and related genus Pentaglottis are known in northern Europe as either bugloss or ox tongue. I couldn’t find one source that would tell me the name of Anchusa tinctoria in Irish/Gaelic (though I did come up with scorsa luibh, then found I couldn’t verify this anywhere else), so wondered if perhaps bugloss came from the Irish bog/bogach + glas = green o’ the bog – that’s my name, not one I found somewhere else). Well, no. It appears that bugloss actually comes from Old French, from Latin, from ancient Greek and means “ox tongue”. Well, at least it would have fitted in nicely with Irish and not stuck out like a sore thumb… Nach bhfuil mo bhuglas alainn an bhliain seo! Any genuine gaeilgoir is welcome to make corrections here and should make allowances for a sassenach gan m(h)úinteoir.
OK, back to the dyepot… In an earlier post, I’d obtained pure black from steeping the roots in alcohol. This time I tried steeping the roots in water alone for a week, then doing the usual. The results were quite surprising, considering two Guild buddies had come up with purple and grey. All the shades obtained were quite distinct, but the most notable results were that no mordant keeps the red, whilst an alkaline modifier transforms the reds to green shades. Here’s an intersting source if you’re interested in the chemistry: green alkanet
So what happened to the purple? Have a look at the spoon which I hadn’t de-gunked before stirring. I may very well give this one more go before I give up. Beirthe nó caillte…
I came across this completely by chance in an Indian grocery (ratan jot रतन जोत in Hindi) a while ago and bought two bags of it, then grabbed two more bags for fellow Guild members. It was only $2.50 a bag, maybe 100g, so too good to miss. That particular shop has stopped selling it, and I’m wondering if it’s since become a prohibited food item: it’s banned for such purposes in the UK.
Anyway, back to the alkanet… I steeped the root in alcohol for five days – a whole bottle of meths, to be precise. This didn’t make it a very cheap experiment, but I had fun.
Alum-mordanted yarn was then heated in the strained liquor plus enough water to make a dye bath for an hour, then left overnight to cool. The resulting yarn was blacker than black – a blackboard after it’s been washed at the end of the year, hands after they been sorting through the coal scuttle, fingers after they’ve finished blackening the grate (someone else will have to verify the last two – London was already a smokeless zone by the time I was born). The photo was taken in the evening sun on a 42oC day, so doesn’t really reflect the blackness of the yarn.
I have yet to test for lightfastness, which I understand isn’t high, but will start with a pair of socks if the two balls will stretch to a pair of size 12’s.