Day 21 – Nature Dyes

Another interesting day in the world of learning fibre arts! Our instructor this week is Laurie. She is very passionate about dyeing and you can just tell! I think that’s one of the many things I love about the course… All of the instructors have been passionate about what they are teaching us. That makes it so easy to learn. You can also absorb their positive energy, which brings forth the passion within you too 🙂

Today we worked with marigold, golden rod and cochineal. Laurie picked the golden rod up along side the road. The marigold was purchased in powder form. And the cochineal… It is actually ground up cochineal bugs that are found on a cactus in Peru and Mexico. I know it sounds nasty because that is what I thought too. Until I saw the colours it produced! Depending on which mordant you mixed with it, it ranged from fuchsia to plum.

We used alum/cream of tartar, copper and iron for mordants. Wow, do they ever shake things up!

If you want to use marigold from your garden, it works too. Just the heads though.

The other thing I wanted to mention, just in case somebody reading this gets inspired and wants to give natural dyes a shot themselves… DO NOT use the stove or pots that you cook with in your kitchen. Get a hot plate and work in a well ventilated area. Even though these are natural dyes, they are still toxic.

I took some pictures of things brewing, but I think I’ll post them tomorrow. I haven’t even got my computer out tonight (this update is coming via my iPhone). It’s only 9:10 and I’m ready for sleep! I’m going to have a cup of tea to see if that will liven things up. I also want to finish the dishcloth I’m working on.

I’m trying to make one dishcloth each day to add to my inventory. So far I made 2 yesterday and I’m working on my second today. That would be awesome if I could keep that momentum going! I have some Christmas orders I should be working on, but that requires too much brain power at this moment. I can do the dishcloths with my eyes closed. Really! I’ve done it before 😉


2 thoughts on “Day 21 – Nature Dyes

  1. I love using natural dyes! We have the cochineal bugs here in Chile, (we even have the cactus they live on at the farm, but I am not sure if it has the bugs). I will have to explore!

    I use onion skins a lot, they are very easy and give great results. Different parts of the walnut tree are good too. I use solar ovens to dye wool. They heat up slowly and don’t boil. Here is a link of some wool I dyed,

    I am really enjoying your blog, how great to have enthusiastic teachers. But then who wouldn’t be excited about fibre! 🙂

  2. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU so much for sharing that link to your blog!!!! You have given me hope! I wasn’t quite sure how I would pull off nature dyeing in the near future, since I don’t have an extra kitchen. I was a little sad about that. But you have given me an AWESOME alternative!!! It won’t work for the winter since it gets very cold here, but next summer… Watch out!!! I was so excited when you sent this to me that I shared it with my instructor and some of my classmates ( there MAY have been a happy dance involved too… lol). WOO HOO!!!

    I absolutely love reading what I have read on your blog. Believe me, when I get the time to actually sit down and read blogs, yours will be at the top of my list! 😀

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