Sunday, 11 July 2010

Bits and Pieces from the Dye Garden

Just to cheer the spirits- a view from our little pond across the grandly named patio or  terrace -really a piece of uneven paving stones to the studio.  Not many dye plants as such although the lilies are  a pleasure however in the immediate foreground is Purple Loostrife Lythrum salicaria just coming into flower, on ne of the plants high in tannin.   The pond is thronged at the moment with birds having sips of water and visiting dogs prefer the pond water to nice clean bowls of water any day.

I had been getting ready for a workshop with a lovely group of ladies known as the Fiesty Felters in Shrewsbury making and painting fine felt with extract dyes.  Here on the line are samples of the ten dyes we used.
Logwood purple, Bodfari green, , Fustic, Annatto, Madder,Pomegrante Lac.Cutch waste,Cochineal and Logwood grey.

The Silk caps were painted with all ten dyes. I didn't have time to take photos of the workshop -but it seemed to go well.  They were nice and very talented bunch who bought  a lot! Particularly my inks .  I sold all I took bar a few bottles and am now completely out of bronze and blue so will need to get going on those.  Both are complicated and take time. 
I said this was a post  was a bits and  pieces! Here are some of the  flowers I have picked to dry.
Top:marigold ( tagetes spp),  Coreopsis spp, Cosmos spp.
And finally a pot of yarrow.  The fibres were a pale yellow. I added a bit of ammonia to brighten the yellow and left it overnight and now it has gone slightly green.  I will rinse it out to day  and see what the colour is then but it looks an intriguing greeny yellow.


  1. You have been budy. Your washing line is very impressive. I seem to be good at getting yellows, orange and rust colours but can't get a deep green yet. I was given a lot of advice in one of my recent posts from different natural dyers so I have a lot of things to try.

  2. Hi jasmine- green is one of the most difficult colours to get unless you over dye yellows with indigo.

  3. Pardon my ignorance Helen but I am interested to read that you dry plants to dye with rather than use them fresh. Does that makes a difference to the colour you get?
    Kath (DD) and I had a natural dyeing weekend last weekend which I have blogged about . I had given up blogging for a bit but I guess I am back !! It is great to read and learn as we go along :)

  4. Hi Artis Anne I collect and dry the flowers so as to build up a stock. Over the months the dyers chamomile and the dyers coreopsis build up to quite a lot. I think that you get a better colour with the coreopsis after drying and wonder whether there is a chemical change going on as there is said to be with madder roots when you dry them

  5. Every photo is a treat to the eyes! My yarrow is starting to come up, which I am excited about. I also have marigolds and cosmos with the vegetables. I'm thinking I'd better dry some flowers for future use.

  6. Hi Leigh
    Nice to know you are growing dye plants. certainly start drying (or freezing them) It is amazing how many you get at the end of the summer.