Over on Love Stitching Red you will know that over the past couple of weeks I've been doing some natural dyeing with plants, flowers, leaves and berries
The first plant I tried was St. John's Wort which is expected to fetch an orange to red dye and this is what attracted me to it
My attempts at yielding a red dye were unsuccessful but I have discovered the reason for this and intend to have another go later
Where I went wrong - the first thing I did wrong was to select leaves, flowers and berries that were unripe. Afterwards, I read that they need to be mature to get good results. The second thing I did wrong was to separate the leaves from the flowers and berries
I boiled up the yellow flower heads and the yellow/red berries using just enough water to cover them and simmered for ages, but nothing much happened
Eventually, I did get some colour but I could tell it wasn't going to turn out great. Still, I put the dye in a jar and soaked various pieces of cotton, yarn and lace in it for several days
the green leaf dye is on the left
the yellow flower dye is on the right
The results from the yellow flower dye are interesting. The backgrounds are insipid and "wishy washy" where the dye was weak, but I got some fab patterns where the St. John's Wort fermented and started to grow mould. I know - disgusting!
I washed the fabric thoroughly in boiling water to remove every trace of the mould but I was left with these great rust-like patterns. I like it!
When I boiled up the leaves separately I got an olive green dye, but it was not very strong
Here I've got various fabrics, cotton, scrim, silk and threads soaking in the green dye. I left them for a couple of days and, apart from the silk cocoons, I got very weak results
Fortunately, my experiences here didn't put me off natural dyeing and I carried on experimenting with other dyes with more successful results
These are the green pieces that I got from the red onion dyeing (see RED blog)
The patterns on the piece of kitchen paper are where I left it draped over my brass kitchen tap
I find it very exciting that different fabrics fetch different colours in the same dye jar!