Natural dyeing

Dyeing with Alder Cones

I’d been wanting to try dyeing with alder cones for a while as I’d read you could get shades of dark grey through to almost black with them. Did I get that? No I did not…

I managed to forage about 150g of alder cones and soaked them for a week. The water was already a deep reddish-brown which I thought boded well for intensity of colour.

I simmered the cones for an hour, then strained them off and simmered a skein of DROPS Flora in the dye-bath. No mordant as alder cones have tannin in them. The colour wasn’t as strong as I expected. It was more like a soft camel-brown than anything. I left it to cool in the dyebath overnight but it didn’t really pick up any extra colour.

The result is pretty, but not what I was expecting or hoping for! I do plan on trying alder cones again, but with a higher proportion of cones to yarn to see if I can get more depth of colour, and maybe try with an iron modifier to see if I can get grey rather than brown again.

Weight of dye-stuff: approx 150g
Weight of yarn: 50g
Mordant: None
Modifier: None