Archives de la catégorie Natural Dye Plants

Information on natural dye plants from Europe and abroad.

Plant dyeing with madder compost

Ecrit par [email protected] le 26 novembre 2009 sous Natural Dye Plants

The sock yarn below was dyed not exactly on a compost heap but in buckets of left over dye stuffs that were left in the sun for a few weeks.

It was a continuation of the use of the home-grown madder written about in the previous article Madder and Madder.

The madder in question had already been used to dye over one and a half times its weight, however because the madder was quite coarsely chopped I could see both from the wool dyed and the madder that was left over that the red pigments had not yet been fully ...

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More about home grown madder

Ecrit par [email protected] le 11 novembre 2009 sous Dye House News, Natural Dye Plants

Lots of you have asked how I would process the madder harvested last year.

Well, it has dried very well, hanging in my neighbours' barn and was only brought inside just as the cyclone arrived last January. I wasn't going to risk my madder being blown away! It had dried so well that it was possible to snap it into smaller pieces, but not small enough.

Dried Madder

I have saved this home grown madder for this Autumn's sock collection not only because I have heard that madder needs to mature for a year but also I thought that Jan ...

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Natural dyeing yellows and browns with onion skins

Ecrit par [email protected] le 27 août 2009 sous Natural Dye Plants

The humble onion skin can be very versatile when it comes to natural dyeing, producing with a good alum mordant and modifiers a wide range of yellows, oranges and browns.

Living in France, it is easy to collect onion skins with the help of my neighbours, I have a good supply of organic onion skins to keep me going all year round. I just keep them in a paper sack in a dry place until needed.

Hanks Dyed with Onion Skins

I have heard it said that if the onion skins are kept too long they don't dye so well, but I haven't ...

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Harvesting the Madder in the Natural Dye Garden

Ecrit par [email protected] le 26 novembre 2008 sous Natural Dye Plants

After four years of tending and weeding, the time has finally arrived to harvest the first madder root from the dye garden. Due to the wet autumn it has been difficult to judge the right time to harvest, as the foliage is still green and there are new root shoots. However the arrival of my brother-in-law on holiday heralded that the time was ripe, and with his help we harvested the madder patch.

Madder roots

Each day we dug out a few kilos of madder roots and he washed them before drying. As the week went on he perfected a washing method ...

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Weld for Natural Dyeing

Ecrit par [email protected] le 25 mai 2008 sous Natural Dye Plants

The first weld plants are beginning to ripen. Here is a picture of some hanging up to dry.

Weld Drying

Weld is the plant on the right, the other is flax for linen thread. Flax is growing like a weed in the hay pastures this year, where last year there was none. The shutter by the way is painted with woad.

The weld plant is ready for harvest just before the flower shoot really gets going. Here the buds are still tight and the plant is still relatively compact, if left to grow they would probably have shot another foot or so ...

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Madder Plants in our natural dye garden

Ecrit par [email protected] le 24 mars 2007 sous Natural Dye Plants

This madder is only a few months old, in 2-3 years it will have covered all the ground and the roots will be ready to harvest that Autumn.

Madder seems to grow well in this area of France, where the summers are hot but not too dry. There has been a recent attempt to grow it in Provence which was abandoned, I think because of lack of water.

Madder Plants

However in Holland where madder was grown traditionally, a new company was launched last month called Rubia. If you are looking for madder extract it is worth looking at their site.

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Red Sorghum as a dye

Ecrit par [email protected] le 24 mars 2007 sous Natural Dye Plants

Sorghum was one of the dye plants I grew last year. It grew very well on our dry southern slope. One night the wild boar came to invest it and pulled some down.

They neither ate it or returned, no doubt knowing at the first sniff that it is poisonous. Unfortunately, this year I didn't have time to work with this fascinating plant, but I have kept some seed and plan to sew it this year as a combined dye crop, shade and wind break. It is very drought resistant, its leaves contract around the stem conserving moisture as ...

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Collecting walnuts husks for natural dyeing

Ecrit par [email protected] le 24 mars 2007 sous 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 ...

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A look at Sunflowers and their Natural Dye properties

Ecrit par [email protected] le 24 mars 2007 sous Natural Dye Plants

Sunflowers have been used for centuries, if not millennium by the Hopi Indians to dye a range of reds, purples and blues. This summer has been especially good for growing sunflowers anywhere in Europe.

These de-flowered seed heads below are a variety called Van Gogh. As you can see the wonderful whirl of seeds are purple when young, turning to purply black as they mature. Although all the seeds I sowed looked the same, some plants have grown with several flower heads to each plant these having the purple natural dye producing seeds shown below.

Van Gogh sunflowers

However some are giant one ...

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Woad/Pastel, grown for dyeing in the Ariège, France

Ecrit par [email protected] le 24 mars 2007 sous Natural Dye Plants

This is a single woad plant (pastel in french) flowering in my garden here in the Ariège. Strange is it not that a plant that dyes so blue should have such yellow flowers? I have removed nearly all the other plants as I do not know how invasive it is, but this one I will let go to seed, to sow in August for plants for next year.

Near Pamiers on the road to Pujols there was a field of woad/pastel that has just been harvested as the seeds were ripening. A whole field of purple teardrops which are ...

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