Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Natural Dyeing


I bought these wonderful Amaranth flowers at the farmers market.

 I thought I'd read somewhere they were a good dye plant, well we're going to find out.

 First I laid them on my premordanted with alum wool. Rolled it up tightly and tied it with string.

 Placed it in a pot and steamed it for an hour, left it covered overnight. It's now in a plastic bag for a couple of days. Next week we'll see the results.

 I placed the rest of the flowers in another pot and gently simmered them for around an hour. The water was a wonderful bright red.

 The wool came out a beautiful, warm yellow which surprised me, I thought it would be red or perhaps a dull brown. This fabric has orange/red undertones to it.

Knapp weed is doing well in the fields this hot dry summer.

 I picked some, chopped it up and simmered, added my premordanted wool,

And ended up with this dull yellow green. Actually the picture makes the color look better than it really is, it is ugly. At the end of Fall I take all my fabrics that I don't care for, lightly bundle them up and put them in a pot of madder root or cochineal. They turn out beautiful.

 I was really in a dyeing mood this past weekend. So next on my list was a little solar dyeing. I took a large jar, layed some premordanted wool in it and layer it with cochineal, Osage orange and madder root.


 After it was all layered I poured boiling water over it, caped it and set it in the sun for a few days.

 I had some dried eucalyptus left from last year I placed in another jar. Their out in the sun now. You have to watch them very, very carefully as they mold easily. Next week I show you the results.

 You can also do this with wool yarn. I did this hank last summer layering with cochineal, Osage orange and madder root.

Mullein is also ready for harvest. This makes a bright yellow dye.
A local Native American elder makes a wonderful healing cream with the leaves that people swear is the best.
I'm also drying some leaves to make Dream Pillows this Fall with the grandsons.

 Last summer I used the leaves to "dye print" a sunshine for my quilt.

 One of the few plants that are doing well in my dye garden is my coreopsis. In the evening when it starts to cool off I harvest the blossoms.

And look who comes with me every evening, Miss Tigress. She loves the white sage.
Funny thing about Miss Tigress, when she first adopted us the boys named her Tiger well after awhile we figured out she was a girl!

1 comment:

Deb H said...

The kitty is so cute.

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