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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<div style="text-align:center;"><span><span style="font-size:300%;"><b>Plant Dyeing</b></span></span></div>
<div style="text-align:center;"><i><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#008000;">Also dyeing with mushrooms, lichen, and insects</span></span></i></div>
<br><span style="color:#FFA500;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="font-size:large;">Fibers that can be dyed</span></span></span><br><br><ul><li>Wool*<br></li>
<li>Cotton and other plant fibers<br></li>
<li>Some synthetic fibers (i.e. acrylic)<br></li>
<li>Human hair and skin<br></li>
*wool and silk are good places to start as they take dye especially well<br><br><br><span style="color:#008000;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="font-size:large;">Dyestuff</span></span></span><br><span style="font-size:small;"><i>examples</i></span><br><br><ul><li><i>Plants</i><br>
(Leaves, stems, flowers, roots, bark, or fruit)<br><br></li>
Cortinarius semisanguineus<br>
Actinogyra müehlenbergii<br>
Lasallia papulosa<br></li>
Cochineal – insects found living on prickly pear cactus in Central and South America</li>
</ul><br><span><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="font-size:large;">Mordants</span></span></span><br><br>
“Mordants are simply metallic or mineral salts which, when added to the dye bath, enhance, intensify, or change the color of the dye bath and make the resulting shade more fast to light and washing.” (Casselman, Craft of the Dyer, 22) Not all dyestuffs require the use of mordants.<br><br>
A good, relatively non-toxic, mordant to use is alum, which is available in the spice section of the grocery store.<br><br>
Other commonly available mordants: baking soda, vinegar, cream of tartar (used as an additive, not alone), rhubarb leaves, and urine. Other more toxic mordants include tin, copper, iron, and chrome.<br><br><br><span style="color:#FF0000;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="font-size:large;">Color</span></span></span><br><i><span style="font-size:medium;">[see corresponding reference for further details]<br>
*No mordant necessary<br>
fugitive = will fade</span></i><br><br><span style="color:#0000FF;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Blue</span><br>
berries [6]<br>
copper pennies [4]<br>
indigo [6]*<br>
lichens [3]</span><br><br><span><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Brown</span><br>
onion skins*<br>
black walnut hulls*<br>
tea*</span><br><br><span><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Red</span><br>
beets [6] (fugitive)*<br>
cochineal [6]<br>
madder root<br>
hibiscus</span><br><br><span style="color:#808000;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Yellow</span><br>
begonia flowers<br>
carrot tops<br>
chamomile flowers and leaves<br>
birch bark</span><br><br><span style="color:#FFA500;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Orange</span><br>
rhubarb root<br>
turmeric root</span><br><br><span style="color:#008000;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Green</span><br>
geranium flowers<br>
tomato plant<br>
rhubarb leaves</span><br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="font-size:large;"><span><b>Process</b></span></span></span><br><br><b>1.Preparation</b><br>
a.Wind yarn into skein, tie in several places<br>
b.Gently wash in warm soapy water, rinse in water of same temperature<br>
c.Hang to dry, or use immediately<br><br><b>2.Pre-Mordant</b> (use utensils that will only be used for dyeing from this point on, not for food)<br>
a.Thoroughly wet all fibers to be mordanted. A soak overnight is best.<br>
b.Dissolve mordant (Alum and Cream of Tartar (assistant)) in boiling water – for 1 lb wool, use 2 Tbsp Alum, 4 tsp Cream of Tartar<br>
c.Add dissolved mordant to several gallons of water in pot. If wool is wet, be sure to use the same temperature water.<br>
d.Gradually raise temp to a simmer over the course of an hour; maintain simmer for 30-45 minutes<br>
e.Gently stir yarn from time to time<br>
f.Cool in pot, overnight<br>
g.Rinse, or not<br>
h.Hang to dry, or use immediately<br><br><b>3.Dyeing</b><br>
a.Gather enough dyestuff (general rule: 1 oz dyestuff for 1 oz wool)<br>
b.Boil dyestuff in a pot of water until dye is extracted (1/2 – 3 hrs)<br>
c.Strain liquid<br>
d.Add additional water to dye bath, water should be the same temp as yarn<br>
e.Gradually raise temp to a slow simmer (must not boil now that fiber has entered the pot) over the course of an hr; maintain simmer for ½-3 hrs<br>
f.Gently stir yarn from time to time<br>
g.Add water if necessary (take yarn out before adding hot water); yarn should not be forced against bottom of pot<br>
h.Cool in pot, overnight<br>
i.Rinse and wash with shampoo<br>
j.Hang to dry<br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="color:#0000FF;"><span style="font-size:large;">Resources</span></span></span><br><br>
1.Bessette, Arleen Rainis, and Alan E Bessette. The Rainbow Beneath My Feet: A Mushroom Dyer's Field Guide. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 2001.<br>
2.Buchanan, Rita. A Dyer's Garden: From Plant to Pot Growing Dyes for Natural Fibers. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1995.<br>
3.Casselman, Karen Diadick. Lichen Dyes: The New Sourcebook. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2001.<br>
4.Casselman, Karen Leigh. Craft of the Dyer: Colour from Plants and Lichens. New York: Dover Publications, 1993.<br>
5.Dean, Jenny. Wild Color. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1999.<br>
6.Grae, Ida. Nature’s Colors: Dyes from Plants. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1974.<br>
7.Sugar, Marie. The Complete Natural Dyeing Guide. Leymoyne, PA: Rug Hooking Magazine, 2002.

978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Thought I'd share this - I put together this outline for a horticulture class that I took. I try to post some pics of the yarn that I've dyed soon! (Mostly shades of brown...)

2,506 Posts
Wow! Great info! You should post this in the craft tutorials forum. Have you used a lot of these materials for dyeing?<br>
I've dyed with tea before, but the color has definitely faded a lot.

978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've used grass, begonia flowers, turmeric, red onion skins, tea, beets.<br><br>
Here is a <a href="" target="_blank">pic</a> the turmeric turned out great - but it seems to be mia - I'll add a pic when I track it down...<br><br>
I think most of them have faded a little...the begonia-dyed (yellow) yarn seems to be my most-colorfast so far.

251 Posts
I dyed a cotton skirt once using blueberries. It was an experiment, but it turned out ok! It did fade for the first couple of washes (I don't think I 'set' the dye at all) but after that the colour stayed pretty much the same. It was expensive though!

978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I bet it was really pretty Kristeen! In the Ida Grae book I listed above, she talks about using sugar and flour as a mordant with berries (like a pie filling).... She noted that she could never get berries to not fade, except when she accidentally spilled some pie on herself and then could never get the stain out... :LOL
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