Since the comments on the ivy-dyed yarn got spread over two posts, I’ll address them all here:
Cathy-Cate suggested that pureeing the ivy would bring satisfaction in many ways. A good idea, and one I contemplated, but I don’t have a dye-dedicated food processer and I’m a bit leery of using the food-dedicated food processor on leaves that I don’t consider edible. Not that there is toxic spray on them or anything, but still, it’s ivy!
Jennifer asked about mordants, seasons for gathering said ivy, and another possible use for it. The mordant the book specified was equal parts of alum and cream of tartar. The yarn was simmered in this, then rinsed and put in the dye bath. The dye bath was never what you might call dark, so I think all the color that there was went into the yarn. The book didn’t say a thing about time of year — any suggestions? I was talking with my friend Heather and she mentioned that she learned the hard way that bronze fennel only gives good color if it’s gathered after the first hard frost. As for feeding ivy to lambs, wouldn’t that make the milk and/or meat taste dreadful?