Deadnettle Day 2 Dyeing – Pickle Juice!

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Above are the bundles from soaking overnight in the dye pot. Ron unwrapped one that was a white on white print. Because the print is vinyl, it never takes dye. You can see the top two are on plain muslin and took the dye well.  The next step was to add iron mordant to the pot and add some of these back in. Amazing color shift. It even made some of the imprints from the plants stand out that you can see in the fabric on the right.

We left 2 bundled fabrics in the pot and will take them out tomorrow. Oh, it doesn’t smell like mint in the dye room. It smells distinctly like dill pickles!  Which is really what the color of green looks like…pickle juice!

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Deadnettle Dye Pot


Do you have this weed in your yard or in a field near you?  It is Deadnettle, Lamium Purpureum for the purists, and winter weed for the layman. It is a member of the mint family.

Deadnettle - Lamium Purpureum
Deadnettle – Lamium Purpureum

Using Sasha Duerr’s book “The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes” I sort of followed the directions for dyeing with mint.  I say sort of because Ron and I used a bundling technique as an experiment rather than just making a dye pot. We  put the bundles into a stainless steel pot and simmered for 40 minutes with washing soda and alum in the water. Tomorrow we will see what it looks like after the water cools. We are hoping for a medium mint green color. If they are, some of the pieces will then be put with an iron mordant to see if we get a deeper green.  By the way, this is cotton fabric that was scoured and then wetted before bundling. We used a 1/1 concentration of plant to WOF [weight of fabric].

Wrapping the bundles
Wrapping the bundles
Ready for the pot
Ready for the pot