Winter dyeing

I had some rather pallid silk embroidery thread. That bag it is sitting on came from an op shop and has been through eucalyptus dye pots so many times it is a very deep shade now!

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I had some white and tan polwarth fleece.

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Eucalyptus cinerea leaves… I have sacks of them and decided it was time to get them moving!

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With wool going in a bit later…

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Then a gift of E Nicholii leavea arrived from a fried whose keen eye and quick wits diverted council prunings from going directly to mulch.  Thanks!

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Here they are after some serious cooking.

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My tour of the dye stash also uncovered these, sitting in a bag I used to use for gleaning the neighbourhood.  Perhaps I could use it again if it wasn’t storing these leaves…

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I thought I remembered them being unexciting.  They are clearly ironbark leaves, but presumably I confused my ironbarks.  I wasn’t sure and decided to try them out.

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There has also been E Scoparia bark dyeing.

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And here we have, fresh from the dye bath (a day later): E Nicholii at the top left; the unexciting ironbark, and E Scoparia bark at the bottom.

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Later still, some of that polwarth fleece sitting on the piano like a fluffy flame…

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First pass through the carder…

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Second pass… ready to spin!

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And now I have some thread with a bit more colour in it, too!

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Filed under Eucalypts, Fibre preparation, Natural dyeing

9 responses to “Winter dyeing

  1. Susan

    That IS a FLAME! Great, the bottom carded wool looks like Blood Oranges. nice.


  2. Noela

    Wow, what a great colour xxx


  3. Here, far up in the North, we are going towards summer! After a cold spring the plants are finally coming up and the dyeing season can start.


  4. annetisell

    What gorgeous colours!


  5. Vivienne

    l MUST be doing something wrong when l dye with Nicholii leaves! l never seem to get that red! Always a lovely dark orange, but never a red! Maybe the PH is wrong; l don’t know!
    You put everything in the pot , right (leaves, buds,stems). l got told at Vic HW & Sp. not to put the sticks in, and definitely no alum! What pot are you using? Details, please!


    • I don’t think it is obvious you are doing anything wrong! Plants are diverse… grow in different places and soils and experience different temperatures, rainfall, growing circumstances. I perceive the colour I get from E Nicholii as orange rather than as red, though to be sure it is at the reddish end of orange! I do put everything in, yes (although the stems I put in are on the small side for manageability). Others do different things, and get different results: you might like to compare Jean Carman and the Victorian HSWG books with India Flint’s–human genius takes a lot of different forms and from time to time people get the way they do things mixed up with ‘the only way’. Reading a diversity of authors helps dispel this idea and so do texts that encourage and describe experimenting, like India Flint’s and Ida Grae’s Nature’s Colors: Dyes from Plants. Books that provide ‘recipes’ will teach you something different. I get different results from one bath to the next and stronger colours do tend to come from using a LOT of leaf relative to fibres. When dyeing wool I often would add an acid–like vinegar. I am using a stainless steel pot. I don’t use alum, there is no need. Bundle dyeing does give different results than dyeing in a vat the way most people would dye fleece… This bundle probably spent 6 hours in a dye bath one way or another but some of that time might have been steamier!


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