I checked several sites for references, including the one I used last time; mainly pioneer thinking, but I also checked numerous other online sources. As a source for brown I knew I could use dandelionroots, bark, juniperberries and goldenrod. So I started collecting these.... and ran into difficulties! Dandelions we have plenty, collecting their roots however is easier said than done, give the very rocky soil we have here. Everytime I tried to dig one up, it broke, leaving only a small portion of the root attached to the plant. A small lesson learned here; wear gloves! It gets quit sticky, when the juices dry on your hands.... This way it would take an awefull long time and an equal amount of effort to collect enough. What about the bark then? There's plenty to go around? I knew it had to be the bark from an evergreen and since I had plenty of leftovers from the sprucetrees I cut down last autumn, I started cutting of the bark from that. When I was almost done I had a sudden impulse of genius!! Why not recheck the sources, befor using this material? Turns out I need pinebark, not spruce....... Bark is out the window too, then. By the way, use gloves. They're easier to remove than the resin....
Juniperberries, they should give a nice deep brown..... if they were available. Last option the goldenrod. Not really a plant you might find in the wild around here, but we have several patches of them in the garden. Unfortunately these patches are not all the big and I need plenty of goldenrodshoots. I also discovered we appearantly have 2 different species; one with dark purpleish stems and one with bright green ones. No idea if that makes any difference. Result; not enough material could be gathered, yet.
So I want for option 2; green.
Upon checking the sources I noticed I could, amongst other things, use nettles... Hey! We have plenty of those!! Checking the internet I came across a wide variety of brownish greens or greenish browns, depending on fabric, season, mordant and quantity.... Great. At least it will give a natural colour, instead of the bright, ivory kind of white the anorak has now.
So I started collecting nettles. Not my favorit kind of plant, since I happen to react quit a lot, when stung. Feeling the stings for hours is no fun, especially if your fingertips get that numb stinging sentation as if they are asleep. Where are my gloves?? I collected a good shoppingbag full, an estimated 2-3kg. The nettles are fresh and green, about 30-40cm in length and I used stems and leaves. Noticed a lot of snail ON the leaves. How come they do not get stung? Does their mucus protect them? I cut it all into small pieces and put them in a large kettle to soak overnight.
Be carefull when heating the water with anorak! Air trapped within the anorak expands when heated and when you stir or turn the anorak around, that air will escape, sending boiling hot droplets of diluted vinegar into the air!! Wear some protection, at least some gloves and long sleeves.
Allthough the nauxious fumes-part actually isn't quite true. The nettles are actually quite pleasantly smelling, indeed resembling spinach, which I happen to love! Even the vinegar isn't all that bad....
After boiling and simmering the anorak I noticed the vinegar dislodged a great deal of the mineral deposits you inevitably end up with when heating large volumes of water repeatedly, as it did in our Weckkettle. The result were a number of brownish orangy stains in the fabric, which I tried to rinse out as good as possible. Then the anorak went into the, by now, strained nettlesoup and that was boiled and simmered for another hour. The anorak was left to soak further for the rest of the day and night.
This morning I took out the anorak, rinsed it properly and ung it out to dry. I have to admit that I am not impressed or pleased with the endresult. The anorak has taken on a grey-greenish tinge, just enough to make it look like a dirty beige! I have to rethink my options!
As it was, just more yellow.
As it is