Here's a bit of fresh, spring colour from a berberis shrub. Many thanks to Lisa who noticed the bright colour in the twigs when clearing her garden and sent me some to dye with.
I soaked the twigs for a few days, peeled off the bark and cooked the whole thing to extract the dye. It's the brightest yellow in my notebook so far. The green silk also had a dip in indigo.
I've been poring over the old dyeing manuals in the Archive. Although some of them were written before the chemistry of indigo was understood, they gave me a clearer idea of what fermentation vats look like at different stages as they mention details that modern dyebooks don't. I also enjoyed reading about Hellot's 18th century experiments:
I have myself prepared, as I observed, these three Vats in miniature, in cylindrical glass vessels, exposed to the light, in order to observe the effect before the infusion acquired colour, viz. before it became green under the scum or blue on the surface which is a sign of interior fermentation.
My miniature vats have gone sour or 'run away' as one of the dyebooks calls it but I've restarted them in the 21st century 'cylindrical glass vessels' and am watching and waiting.