25 Apr 2010

Natural Dyeing

I have been busy dyeing over the last few days!!
Ive been reading up on natural dyeing recently and instead of just chancing it I really wanted to experiment with some tried and tested ideas so I can start to find out what works for me and what things I like.
Its all in the preperation Im discovering, so with that in mind I prepared some fabric (silk, cotton, muslin & jersey) and some yarn (Icelandic wool, cotton yarn) half in Alum & half in Iron.
Then I boiled up the plants I wanted to try for an hour each, once cooled I put the plants and liquid in jars and added bits of each differently mordented fabric & yarn sample. I left the jars for just under 36 hours.

The results are just fab! some have turned out just as the book says so I must have done something right! some are fainted than I expected but I really like them like that. The Iron mordented fabrics are defiantly shades that really appeal to me, as the books say the Iron darkens and dulls the shades! I like!
I plan to continue with a few more simple plants and veg next week just to get a bit more experience and to see what my garden and woodlands can produce!
This time I used nettles,onions, Ivy, cabbage and eucalyptus and plan to try Walnuts, avocado, Tea, brambles & Madder this week. 
After visiting Highgate cemetry a while back I said I wanted to change my palette to grey's and greens for a bit and some of the shades Ive achieved are just what I was seeing so I need to try to make some new work based around these colors now!!! to see more pics of the other dye jars and there results have a look at my flickr set

Tomorrow morning I shall draw a name out of a hat for my give away, Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments! your answers are all really interesting, Im pleased to hear most of us just cant help creating!  


  1. This is so interesting - I work at a countryside visitor centre and we have just developed a small dyers garden, I know nothing about natural dyeing so may well be back for some tips. Joy

  2. Wonderful! I have done bit's of dying before, have several books on it, and even bought natural Indigo in Marakech, still unused - I would love to grow woad as well.


  3. I love dyeing fiber and fabric. It's starting to get warm here again, so time to head outdoors and begin growing some plants to dye with! Beautiful picture of the colored jars! Jamie V in MT

  4. thanks ladies, I think I could get a little addicted to just seeing what happens when I put things in jars!!! any tip on things to grow Jamie ?
    Ive started Marigolds and have rhubarb, oh and a have some woad seeds starting?? what else could i try? xxxx

  5. oh Jenny, this view of the dyeing jars are simply a delight ! You got really awesome shades ! I'm soooo ready to dye again, it's been way too long. Thank you so much for sharing, can't wait to see more !!!! :D xoxoxo

  6. thanks sonia, Ive got the dyeing bug now!! its fab isnt it, just like harry potter magic!
    Im starting some rhubarb and walnuts this week....very exciting xx


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