January 27, 2016


December Orange

Despite December being dominated by Advent and Christmas and all that that means, the little one and I were able to do two natural dye experiments during the month. 

Orange, orange, orange! I love orange. I'm weird that way...

Eucalyptus Bark Dye

My parents have a sloped openspace on their property. It's sort of a buffer between them and a nearby road, but we've found several ways to make this space useful. The first is that we set up a small archery range on the only flat area so we can practice being archer/elves. The second is that it's filled with eucalyptus and oak trees, so we've pulled out some of the dead wood for firewood, and this last time round, we collected a whole huge pile of eucalyptus bark that had peeled from the trees.

Because so many of our dye baths have been weak in color, I decided to completely stuff our pan full of bark, to see if that would help deepen the color. We added tannins to both dye baths, too (pomegranate in one, acorn in the other) and alum was added as well...

Hooray! It didn't turn out quite orange, more like a burnt rust. But lots and lots of color--just what we had hoped!

Carrot Dye

We've done enough dyeing now to know that the added tannins are making a real difference in color absorption. But as a last test, we dyed one napkin in alum/carrot dye, and the other in alum/carrot/acorn tannins... As predicted, the one with the tannins was decidedly more orange flavored. Not quite orange, more of a light peach. Carrots obviously don't make the best dye, but they were fun to chop and play with!

January has been declared a no-dye month, since we have started some new classes, but February will be GREY to encourage rain clouds to come and stay...

Cheers, friends!




Published: January 27, 2016 | Filed under: Home

Comments (6)
Michelle McCallum said:
January 28, 2016 @ 4:11 AM

I love that first color!

jane g meyer replied:
January 28, 2016 @ 6:10 PM

Bark. Who knew? :)

Elizabeth said:
January 28, 2016 @ 8:35 AM

how fun! you all have been learning lots about dying!

jane g meyer replied:
January 28, 2016 @ 6:12 PM

It's been such a fun adventure. Still several months to go, and at the end we'll have quite the napkin collection. I'm on the lookout for a white linen tablecloth so we can actually use it all around the table, and be all hippy-like with our new natural linens :)

Joy said:
January 29, 2016 @ 12:14 PM

How neat. I'm so fascinated by plant dying.

jane g meyer replied:
January 29, 2016 @ 12:20 PM

Joy, I would encourage you to try some dyeing! It's easy--you probably have all the materials already in your home, and in the nearby nature around you. It's always fun trying something completely new... All the best!

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