Dye Days of Summer – Pears

For my second dye experiment, I used pear twigs and leaves, soaked in well water for about a week.


I don’t know the variety, but this is the pear tree I used for the dye.

I put the soaked twigs and leaves in the dye pot with fresh water, heated it to 200 degrees F, and added two sample skeins, one mordanted with alum and one with pond water.  I left them in overnight, and in the morning I had wonderful results.

pear dye samples 1

These are the basic samples.  I really love the one on the left – alum mordant and pear twig dye.  Really, the other two are pretty good, considering no mordant was needed to get that much color.

There seemed to be plenty of color in the dye pot so I kept throwing in samples.  I got mostly tans, nothing as intense as the first two skeins.  After removing the samples from the dye, I tried dips in various modifiers – copper, ammonia (a few drops of household ammonia in well water), vinegar (just straight white vinegar), and iron.  Nothing earthshaking or surprising happened, but it was still fun.

pear dye samples 2

All the samples.  The basic three from the picture above reappear as the farthest left in their group.  The two pale ones by themselves are from the solar jars.

I also poured the soaking water into the solar jars, to see if that would work.  Those skeins have been in the jars for about 48 hours, and just achieved a very light yellow-greenish tan color.

copper dipped samples

The three different mordant samples were dipped into a solution of water, vinegar, and a few scraps of  copper pipe.

ammonia dipped samples

These samples were dipped in water with a few drops of ammonia, to raise the alkalinity, but no real color change ensued.

vinegar samples

A vinegar dip should raise the acidity, but again, no big color effects.

iron samples

These were dipped for just a few minutes into a solution of water, vinegar, and old rusty bolts.

Now it’s on to elm twigs!

(If you need to know more about how I prepared the yarn for dyeing, and how I prepared the modifiers, I wrote about that here.  Let me know if you have any questions!)