Sneaking in a little bit of plant dyeing these days has been a little challenging for my big girl and I. The man-cub is trying to speak, using his sweet little pointer a lot, and
very incredibly restless at night. But the plants are fresh now, right now, and capturing their color in dye baths and (hopefully) onto fabrics and fibres is, well, imminently important.
(photo at top shows turmeric – gold and avocado skin – purple, both with alum-dyed cotton strips)
Ha! “Immenintly important” are not words you could apply to just about anything! Laundry, dishes, weeding, shop work. Sometimes it feels good to leave all that alone and make a dye bath.
Here’s what fresh beets gave us, on cotton strips soaked in alum for a few days.
And here are all our plant and naturally-dyed cotton strips, all laid out (note: the beet-dyed one, above, is not included).
Here is what we used, in clockwise order starting with the green in the bottom left-hand corner of the photo:
• Carrot top greens with no mordant
• Nettle dye bath (with a little bee balm dye bath added at the end) with pre-mordanted alum
• Turmeric with pre-mordanted alum
• Avocado skins with pre-mordanted alum
• Purple cabbage with pre-mordanted alum
• Beebalm with pre-mordanted alum
• Beebalm + coffee dye bath with pre-mordanted alum
• Purple cabbage, unmordanted
• Beebalm, unmordanted
Here, a close-up of beebalm with alum (pinks), purple cabbage with alum (purple at top) and purple cabbage dye bath with baking soda to change the acidity (mottled green).
Here you can see beebalm with no mordant (light pink), purple cabbage with no mordant, and then one of my favorite – beebalm dye bath mixed with a whole espresso coffee bean dye bath, using allum pre-mordanted cotton.
Hopefully we will still get to fennel-dyeing, as well as elderberry, apple tree bark, acorns and walnuts. Phew. But breakfast first. Now. Have a great day!