Today I’m going to share a really simple method for making patterns with iron water. Iron or rust water can be use as a “colour changer” with almost all types of plant dyes. When iron comes into contact with plant dyed fibres, it shifts the colour to a deeper tone: we say that iron “saddens” dyes. You can modify an entire piece of fabric with iron to make a darker colour, or you can apply iron with a paint brush and create a darker pattern. Painting with iron water is one of my favourite ways to create patterns: it’s so simple and not messy at all!
If you’re just dipping your toes into natural dyeing, tea is a great dye to try first. But years later, I still love dyeing with tea. This tutorial is a little bit special… wait until you see the patterns!
Why do I love dyeing with tea so much? Almost all of us have some tea in the back of a cupboard, it contains tannins and dyes fibres amazingly well. Plus you don’t need any special equipment – you can use your cooking pans as we are working with entirely edible dyes.
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to dye your own furoshiki-inspired fabric wrapping cloths. It’s a perfect project for an absolute beginner in natural dyeing. I’ve used black tea, rooibos and dried nettle leaves for the colours.
Plus, this is a great zero waste idea. I used an old cotton bed sheet and tea I had in my kitchen. You could certainly reuse old tea bags or loose tea leaves to make the dye!
Find out how I made a botanical mandala print on fabric using the flower hammering/pounding technique. Follow along with my steps and create your own printed mandala… and find out what I learnt from my experiments. It’s lots of fun and the possibilities are endless!
In this blog post I’ll share with you my first experiment with fresh leaf indigo dyeing on cellulose fibres. I’m in love with this pretty shade of teal! I didn’t know if it would work on cellulose as I’ve read that it’s best on protein fibres, but I’m thrilled with the results.
One of my favourite plants to dye with in the spring is the stinging nettle – it’s one of the plants I most look forward to. The leaves give me a soft grey-green hue at this time of year (maybe you get a slightly different colour?) – the colour just feels so fresh and “alive” at the beginning of spring.
In this blog post I’ll give your some of my nettle dyeing tips for the freshest colours, and also chat to two nettle-loving herbalists, Kim and Vicky, from Handmade Apothecary. They’ve answered some of my questions about nettles and helped me understand why lower heat works best when extracting dye from the leaves.
In this blog post I’ll share with you the range of shades I made with red onion skins. Such a simple dye plant yields a wide range of colours. It never fails to amaze me!
People often wonder why I dye so many small pieces of fabric in different colours and ask what I do with them all. I’ve actually considered taking up quilting as a hobby on many occasions. The truth is, I simply love dyeing swatches of fabric and lengths of yarn with different plants. Experimenting is all part of my process and I discover lots of new things through this kind of play.
My eBook was a little seed of an idea that turned into a really exciting and rewarding project that I completed over 4 months. It wasn’t until I started writing that I realised quite how much I had to say on plant dyeing; it soon became something much more detailed that I had originally imagined.
Here are some ecoprints from the last couple of months… I find this technique a bit hit or miss but I love the process and the thrill when I unroll a bundle.
This is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and a couple of months ago I set up a small organic woad vat to dye blue.Continue Reading →