Solar Dyeing || #3 Results - Sumac Berries

You may remember this dye jar that I started a couple of months ago.  I let it sit for several weeks while I was working on Saprobia, to allow the pigments to really soak in.  It's funny how with pretty much every solar dyeing experience I've had, the outcome was not at all what I expected.  This is not a bad thing - I don't really go into it with a vivid idea of the end result, but the color of the yarn is rarely in alignment with the color of the dye solution.  I had anticipated a pale red from the sumac berries, but what I ended up with was more of a light peachy tan.  Next year I will try some different mordants and see what comes of it.  Have you dyed with sumac before?  How did yours turn out?  I need to start coming up with projects to know with all of these naturally dyed skeins!


Solar Dyeing || #3

Smooth sumac is a common thicket-forming tree here in Oklahoma, usually found on the edge of prairie and disturbed sites such as roadsides.  It's native, and pops up in these areas as a primary succession species to make way for the slower growing, more shade tolerant trees of our native forest type.  In the fall, these trees really stand out because of the large clusters of bright red berries that form at the meristems.  When I first tried out natural dyeing, I thought of these berries and how curious I was to see how they would work.  Here we are in late summer, and I finally got my chance!
To start, I picked the berries off of the stems and then boiled them in some water to extract the pigment. I may get a larger jar later and put some berries in it with the dye mixture, but the lace weight skein of yarn I used was a little too large to fit in the jar with both the liquid and more berries, so this is why I left them out.  Mordants used: alum and vinegar.
Eventually I'd like to try cochineal, but this looks to be a nice light red dye from a plant native to my area.