Collecting walnuts husks for natural dyeing

Written by [email protected] on March 24, 2007 in Natural Dye Plants

In our coffee breaks, Fleur, our border colley and I go walnut-hunting in the garden and surrounding meadows. This is the time of year that the slowly ripening nuts fall one by one from the already yellowing trees. Leaving the green husked youngsters on the trees we collect the black wizened ones from the dappled shade beneath. The walnuts in the photo are fully ripe and ready to harvest for dyeing purposes.

Once collected I leave them to dry and then wearing rubber gloves unless I want to sport very tanned hands for a week or two, I separate the husks from the nuts. Stored in a dry place husks will keep indefinitely. Green husks can also be used, but it is easier to separate and dry the ones that have already been taken half way there by nature.

Walnuts on branch

The best way to use them for dyeing is to soak the crushed husks for a week or four, ignoring the smell and stirring in any mold that might arise on the top. Walnuts are used to produce a beautiful shade of brown and also a good black on top of a dark indigo.

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