Entries in plant dye (15)


Dyeing with Western hemlock

When we were at the mountain last, I brought back branches of Western hemlock for dyeing.  It was easy because if any branch hit me in the head or caught me down one of our roads, I cut it back.  I am very deadly with a pair of lopers.  But then, I keep meaning to do it down the path I walk most often in the city and have not yet.  Soon.  Maybe when it cools down a bit.

I put these needles on the stove and let them bubble away.  It smelled like Christmas or home.  I really did not wish to take the pot off the stove!

But I did.  I added silk and let it sit for a week.  The fabric came out a golden tan.  Not very exciting.  I took half of it and put it in an iron bath.

The fabric became this chocolate brown with a lot of variation in it.  There are even portions that look copper.  I did not get a picture of it blowing in the breeze because the sun was too bright every time I tried.  It is another colour where I may have to make some just for myself for slips.  Or dye silk for a carpenter dress.  I just had that thought!  That would be amazing.  It would be very interesting to see what the cotton silk fabric dyes like with hemlock and iron.  I feel myself plotting and mulling!

I put the ribbons up on my Etsy shop.  It is where I usually put my ribbon experiments.  

I have another piece of silk with the same combination sitting.  I will take it out of the iron bath on Monday.  The iron water was not as dark for that piece of fabric so it will be very interesting what will happen.  Part of me wishes to head back to the mountain and do more gathering.  I had a field of daisies.  Maybe soon.


playing with hibiscus and soy

I few weeks back, I played with soy mordant and hibiscus for dyeing.  This is what came out of the dye pot.  The middle piece is cotton, then there is a cotton/silk piece, and a china silk piece.

This is how it came out of the washing machine.  The cotton is not white even though it looks so in the picture.  When it is placed next to white it comes out to the eye as the palest of blush or mauve.  There is a bit of grey tone in the pink.  

The middle is the cotton/silk piece.  I am working on a slip that has a lot of embroidery on it that I am using this for.  That gold tone comes out but there is just a bit of blush to it.  Again, it is all about how the light hits it.

The piece is the china silk.  Mauve, almost grey.  It is really pretty but not what I expected.

It is really hard to capture with a camera and then broadcast it on a computer screen.  I took half the china silk and added an iron mordant.  Basically, a bowl of rust water.

It is the prettiest silky grey green.  Hanging from the clothes line or a ribbon floating in the house is beautiful.  I am thinking about making a hand sewn chemise with it.  I am not sure there is enough here but I can add strips of more, or just dye more and make this into ribbons.  This is one of those I could keep all too myself.  But then I would fill my house.  

I am going to have to dye more soon.  There is a cabbage waiting.  I do like dyeing with things that can go into the compost and feed my garden.  There was broccoli from the garden last night.  And there is amaranth flowers I wish to pick to see how they dye.  Experimentation.  Pretty cool.


cabbage and hibiscus

I seem to play with something everyday.  Lately, when I dye fabric, I have been wishing to do something that is a bit more friendly to me.  Many of the mordants are not people friendly.  It is the stuff that helps dye set in fabric.  I have been seeing people use soy milk.  So I figured why not.  Soybeans are fairly inexpensive and they compost.  I may not like the smell but that is not a big deal.

I set a cup of soybeans to soak for a couple days.  Put them in a blender with a bit of water.  Blended for about 5 minutes.  Strained the liquid off of them and added more water.  I needed enough liquid to soak the fabric I wanted to use.  This first time I heated the soy milk with the fabric in it.  I decided that was a mistake.  Soybean when heated can leave waxy spots.

Those are the dark spots on the fabrics.  The cotton silk piece picked up more of the wax then 100% silk bits.  Since this was a first pass, I am going to use this piece for me.  I have some slips I need to make since I have ones falling apart.  I am working with a hibiscus dye pot where I did not eat the soy milk and that seemed to make difference.  

This dye pot was red cabbage and hibiscus.  It seemed to make a grey with blue tones.  The piece that I added iron to became a grey teal.  They are very pretty.  I have started to use the ribbons already.

I like this play.  The ribbons I am making are really nice on my slips.  More experiments to happen in the future.



Me and plant dye.  I never get what I expect.  I boiled beets for an hour and got this wonderful red fluid.

But this is what I got.  Some change.  Not a lot of change.  I think I may need to add vinegar to the pot.  I also saw some posts on youtube where people peeled their beets.

Rabbit holes.  I just keep falling down rabbit holes.  But I will figure it all out.  Experimentation is life.  Or is it called play.  

I am not going to get to experiment much this month.  Koda Bear is going back to the Tall Short Person next week.  I will like getting away to Washington.  I am also thinking about going to a renegade trade show.  It will require some travel and I may get to see some of Joshua Tree National Park at the same time.  Back and then gone.  That sounds about right for me!  With time in a tent.  Life is good.



Before we had a cold snap and lots of rain, I collected rose petals in my yard and on my walk.  They were all pinks and reds.  Into a pot they went.  Then, they were strained out and silk was dyed.  I have been having fun with the plant dyeing.  

I have been asked to be very specific about what I meant about dyeing!

I never get what I expect.  These are the rose dyes.  One is just rose petals.  One is rose petals and soda ash.  Those two are the ones that look almost the same.  The green is adding iron to the rose petal infusion and silk.  I really like the green but the others I do not care for.

I have tried pumpkin guts and that was mostly gold and almost no colour at all.  I have tried to repeat the black bean which did not work.  I had let the black bean ferment a bit last time and I think that made a difference.  This is all learning which is why I found  a place to buy cheap silk.  Good quality just cheap prices.  

I think I wish to try cabbage again and beets.  I have endive infusing currently.  I do not expect much I can hope.  I am hoping for interesting greys.  The worst will be nothing.  And even that is not bad.  It is just learning.  Learning is always good.

Page 1 2 3