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Archive for September 20th, 2011

Looks like something from a crime scene doesn’t it? Trust me it isn’t.  One of my white shirts had a very bad stain on it, as it no longer fit me but the material was still good I figured I would dye it to use the cloth to make another project.  As I was canning beets at the time and had plenty of left over beet parts and juice remaining I figured it would be as good a dye as any for the occasion.

There are so many items nature provides us with to dye cloth, yarn and wool into amazing colors.  With very little work, one can gain wonderful results, though granted they are not as broad ranging as synthetic dyes.

To use natures dyes for dying your cloth or yarn you will need to take a few steps to assure the colors stay.  Salt and Vinegar are your best friends for this.  For berries you will need 1/2 cup of salt per 8 cups of water….for plants its 4 parts of water to 1 part of vinegar.  Add fabric to these fixatives and simmer for an hour. Rinse materials and squeeze out excess water.  The fabric then is ready for the dye process.  Place the wet fabric in your dye bath and simmer until you get the desired color you wish.  The color of the fabric will naturally be lighter once it’s dry.

Shades of Orange: Alder Bark, Sassafras leaves, Onion skin, Carrots, Lilac (twigs), Giant Coreopsis, Tumeric, Pomagrante, Butternut (Seeds).

Shades of Brown: Oak Bark, Sumac (leaves), Dandelion (roots), Walnut (hulls), Tea bags, White birch (inner bark), Juniper berries, Fennel (leaves and flowers), Coffee grinds, Acorns (boiled), Hollyhock (petals), Colorado fir (bark), Pine Tree (Bark), White Maple (bark), Birch (bark), Coneflower (flowers), Goldenrod (shoots).

Shades of Pink:  Strawberries, Cherries, Raspberries, Roses, Lavender, Lichens.

Shades of Blue:  Dogwood (bark), Red cabbage, Mulberries, Elderberries, Grapes, Blueberries, Cornflower (petals), Cherry (roots), Blackberry (fruits), Hyacinth (flowers), Red Cedar (roots), raspberries, Red Maple Tree (inner bark), Dogwood (fruit), Sweetgum (bark), Queen Anne’s Lace, Purple Iris.

Shades of Red:  Elderberries, Sumac (Fruit), Sycamore (bark), Dandelion (roots), Beets, Bamboo, Crab Apple (bark), Rose (hips), Chokecherries, Hibiscus flowers (dried), Canadian Hemlock (bark), Japanese yew (heartwood), Wild Ripe Blackberries.

Shades of Grey-Black:  Iris (roots), Sumac (leaves), Sawthorn Oak (seed cups), Walnut (hull).

Shades of Red-Purple:  Daylilies (old blooms), Safflower (flowers, soaked in alcohol), Huckleberry, Basil.

Shades of Green:  Artichokes, Spinach, Sorrel (roots), Foxglove (flowers), Lilac (flowers), Snapdragon (flowers), Black-eyed Susan’s, Grass, Red Pine (needles), Lily-of-the-valley, red onion (skin), Yarrow (flowers), Peach (leaves), Peppermint (leaves), Hydrangea (flowers), Chamomile (leaves).

Shades of Peach/Salmon:  Virginia Creeper (all parts), Plum Tree (roots), Weeping Willow (wood and bark).

Shades of Yellow:  Bay leaves, barberry (bark), Crocus, Safflower (flowers), Sassafras (bark), Red clover (blossoms, leaves, stem), Yellow Corn Flower, Onion (skins), Alfalfa (seeds), Marigold (blossoms), Willow (leaves), Celery (leaves), Golden Rod (Flowers), Dandelion (flowers), Daffodil (flowers), Hickory (leaves), Paprika, Peach (leaves), Tumeric (Spice), Sunflowers (flower), Tansy (tops),

Enjoy the colors of fall leaves? Any of the fall leaves will yield a color similar to their fall colors.

I know we all are accustom to the colors we see in stores, but sometimes it is pleasant to step outside the synthetic color wheel and enjoy what is right outside our doors.

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