Friday, March 19, 2010

Trying Natural Dyeing

Since friend Joei invited me to join her doing some natural dyeing, and we are going to India Flint's class in June, I thought I would try some on my own. I had a lot of prunings from our apple, pear, and crab apple trees so I decided to use the bark from each tree to see what I could come up with. I started with the crab apple trimmings and  since the diameter of the sticks was small I decided that I would just cut them in small pieces instead of trying to strip the bark off first. I soaked them for a long time because, as usual, I forgot that I had started this project. When I remembered the top of the liquid had some foam and things were getting a bit slimy. I decided I needed to cook it asap, before the swamp monster decided to move in, so to speed things along I boiled the whole lot without stripping the bark off the wood. The 'soup' in the pot smelled like cider and caramel to me...although when my sister came over she asked what smelled like rancid grease!

The liquid looked an awful lot like cider.
I strained the liquid through some handy cheese cloth I found here...I think it has been here since the 50's.  I love the box!

I put in some silk and some wool roving in the strained liquid and boiled it.

The reddish color changed to yellow, and the wool came out a darker shade than the silk. Not what I expected but I like the color.

 I still have plenty of sticks left so maybe I will try again after I play with the pear and apple bark.
When I boiled the cut up twigs most of the bark came off and I wound up with some smooth pinkish sticks that of course I had to keep, though I am not sure in what way or when I will use them.


  1. How did I miss this post? Very nice color. I think you can get a pink from pear bark/trimmings. Is it time to prune pear trees? I have one that is getting too tall. Love the pink sticks. I'm sure you'll find something wonderful.

  2. Hey Joei. I think you were off on a motorcycle ride when I posted:) I am hoping that the pear bark does give a pink but it seems funny since the twigs are much more yellow than the crab apple. Apple is in the pot now. BTW I think it my be past the best time to prune your tree. It is recommended to do the pruning before the sap is flowing. I would go ahead and cut it anyway if it is too tall.