Time Out for Natural Dyeing

There are always lots of projects beconning to me. One that hasn’t had any up close and personal time lately is natural dyeing. I told myself I need to use the dyed fabric from last year so I would walk by the dye studio and wistfully whisper …next year. But then the flowers and leaves are ending their cycle for the year and I caved in to the magic of nature. It had to be now or way too much later.

I don’t chase a perfect leaf imprint like many natural/eco print artists do. If they happen amid the marbling of color created during the process, that’s a bonus.

Ready to rinse out to see if the color stays.
Ready to rinse out to see if the color stays.
Rayon scarf with dogwood, smoke tree and marigolds
Rayon scarf with dogwood, smoke tree and marigolds
 Habatoi scarf wrapped around black locust pods. The rusty red was extracted from the pods. A pleasant surprise.
Habatoi scarf wrapped around black locust pods. The rusty red was extracted from the pods. A pleasant surprise.

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