Manitoba Weavers Guild

Two days ago we sent our first batch of dye off to our friends at the Manitoba Weavers and Fibre Artists Guild.  They arrived safely and will be distributed in a week at their monthly meeting.  There was no charge for this.  We firmly believe that if we benefit from something in our lives that our respective communities should benefit in some manner as well…and we have benefit from their knowledge so much as we are becoming weavers.  We are simply so grateful to so many of them…

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Haskap Dye With A Mordant

I have not found any recipes for dyeing wool with haskap.   I have a couple of books on fibre dyeing (Adrosko and Duerr).  These do not contain information on dyeing with haskap.  But Duerr’s does have a recipe for dyeing with blackberries.  Knowing from personal experience how blackberries can stain I decided to use this recipe as a baseline recipe.

Here’s what I did:

(1) Drain Mordanted Wool – Yesterday when mordanting I could not tell if the odour that hung in the air there was because the paint was burning off of the new propane heater, or was due to the mordant.  After allowing the mordanted wool to cool in the mordanting bath overnight I removed the lid and could smell the strong presence of sulphuric acid (H2(SO4)).  I drained the wool.  Then I rinsed the wool several times with clean, soft water.

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(2) Making Dye Liqueur – Weighing my fabric, I matched that with an equal weight of haskap berries.  Berries were covered with water, brought to a boil, then simmered (180F) for 30 minutes.  This was then sieved and set to cool.

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(3) Dyeing Wool – Once the haskap dyeing liqueur is cool, add premordanted fibre.  Fully cover the wool with water.  Bring the bath up to a simmer and hold it there for 30 minutes.  Remove the dye pot from the heat.  Remove the wool and set it aside to drain, wash with a pH-neutral soap, rinse thoroughly, hang to dry.

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untreated wool (top) – mordanted, rinsed, and haskap dyed (bottom)

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washed, mordanted, haskap dyed in full sunlight

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washed, mordanted, haskap dyed, and rinsed wool on drying rack indoors

Harvesting Haskap

Edible blue honeysuckle (EBH) berries have a dulled blue skin.  This selection is called Tundra

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…but their interior is a scarlet colour.  When picked by hand haskap does not bleed on its end (not so with honeyberries and non-varietal EBH).  When mechanically picked using a plastic bat and child’s wading pool, there is some damage.

When processing the berry into juice or cooked for syrup and jam this damage does not matter.

We harvested seventeen gallons of Borealis haskap the other day.  We collected a half gallon of juice that we will pasteurize and use for juice/dye from these seventeen gallons…

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…exquisite colour.

Our Orchard

We started raising haskap in volume in 2008.  That year we planted 1,000 bushes.  Our haskap orchard is now made up of 3,000 plants.  We use no synthetic chemical whatsoever in our fruit production.  This fruit is both an incredibly healthy food and a juice that can be easily applied to animal fibres.  We allow U-Picking on a limited basis.  We opened our gates on Friday.  Yesterday was a beautiful day.  People showed up in volume, happy to harvest…

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Haskap Fruit

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Edible blue honeysuckles, Lonicera caerulea, are plants that likely originated in eastern Siberia and are now circumpolar in distribution.  It is a truly northern fruit whose berries develop earlier than any other fruit, and whose flowers can withstand -7C/19F temperatures and still produce fruit!  Developed into superior selections since approximately 2000 at the University of Saskatchewan, many people liken its taste to a cross between blueberries and red raspberries.  Unlike most other fruits it is one of the few berries whose anti-oxidants have been analyzed in vivo; it is known how compounds like haskap’s distinctive anthocyanins actually benefit the human body.  And it is these that give this fruit’s meat its distinctive, deep, and rich purplish colour.