Dyeing weekend at home

Over a recent long weekend, I managed to do quite a lot of dyeing and some fibre processing. There was mordanting of cellulose fabrics with soybeans.


I finally decided to stop worrying about the fact that my walnuts (gathered from under trees at my workplace) were whole and having dried, I was not going to be able to separate husk from nut (where no rat had done this for me).  I just soaked them whole and then dyed with them.


I clamped and dyed.  This eucalyptus print + walnut bath made me happy!  Here it is still wet (you can see it still clamped above if you look closely).


I flick carded Suffolk locks.  Some had staining–see that yellow streak?  I just decided I wasn’t prepared to waste indigo on vegetable matter and contaminate my vat.  And the Suffolk is so felting resistant I thought it would be fine flicked first and dyed after 9and it was).


I used some of Tarla Elward’s wonderful Australian grown Indigo for the first time and used henna as the source of antioxidants, following Michel Garcia’s method.


I’d been concerned about how to grind up the block indigo but I had found a mortar and pestle since dye camp and put it to use. So much fun, Such a great weekend.


I am just delighted with the indigo colours on this wool, and even more delighted that I managed to revive my indigo vat, last used before dye camp a few months ago.  Clearly, I learned something from the wonderful Jenai at dye camp.  Indigo achievement unlocked!  Blue socks one step closer.



Filed under Fibre preparation, Natural dyeing

7 responses to “Dyeing weekend at home

  1. I dry my black walnuts husk included and have stored some for years, then I smash them up when I want to use some.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see how that would work–that’s what I did with some of mine to see if I could separate them. At least it lets you remove any remaining nut, no doubt decreasing the oiliness of the vat a little. Thanks for sharing what works Kylie!


  2. Rhonda Bradley

    Great dyeing work 🙂 I love the eucalyptus print then the walnut colour contrasts are fabulous. Looking forward to seeing blue socks. I am currently visiting Portugal and there are walnut and eucalyptus trees everywhere such a shame I don’t have capacity to do anything with them. I do have some of our dying experiments from our first camp with Janaia and my quiet time is spent doing some hand stitching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rhonda! Portugal sounds like an amazing place, I hope you are loving being there even if you have no dye pot to hand. There have to be times you do hand stitching instead, don’t there? 🙂


  3. Rebecca

    I had heard there was an australian indigo source now…great share. Love the slow sock approach! Also genius idea with the soybeans, i presume you could use the boil juice for mordant and still eat the soy?


    • Thanks Rebecca, you are a brilliant cheer squad! Soy mordanting involves making soy milk by soaking then grinding up/blending the beans and straining out the milk (which you can use as a mordant without cooking). There is more to it but I now have India Flint’s method (in Eco Colour); the version I made up when I was searching that book, could not find the recipe for looking, decided I had made its existence up, and used my own memory (in the tab at top of the blog) and a new one from Jenai Hooke to choose from. It’s the usual natural dyeing situation–lots of options all of which more or less work (and if they don’t, user error can be the issue)! If your preparation is appropriate, you could then use the grits in cooking. As a cash strapped young person I lived in a household where we made our own tofu. It was so precious we then turned it into tofu cheesecake and not some boring ordinary kind of dish. Our vegetarian cookbooks held recipes for the remaining grits (“okara” if I remember right) but they were pretty unpalatable. The compost bin got the grits this time!


  4. Pingback: Plant dyed fabrics | Local & Bespoke

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