Tag: alder

16 Sep

Alder tree cone dye

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Alder cones stored in dry box
Alder cones fall off the trees in strong winds and are found in the grass below all year.  Newer cones side by side on twigs are green and hard.  Store the brown cones in dry boxes and they last a long time.
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Alder cones fall on grass
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Alder cones on tree
To make dye bath soak cones, twigs and leaves together in a mixing bowl or pan.  The water will go dark brown.  Boil up then simmer for one or two hours.  Keep checking water level.Adde silk to dye bath, but only when temperature had lowered to hand hot, or silk will roughen.  Never boil silk.  Stir frequently for even dye coverage and leave overnight to finish absorption.  In most cases, colour deepens the longer silk is left.A secondary paler colour can be achieved in a new silk sample if added to dye bath for 24hours.  I would enhance the absorption ability by pre-mordanting in powdered allum.
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Alder cones removed from dye bath after boiling
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Silk after removal from dye bath of alder cones, leaves and twigs.
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Silk dyed result after soaking in alder dye bath
So many natural dyestuffs produce a range of creams and beige, fawn and gold tones; all very different.  All neutral tones provide an excellent background for silk painting. The Ahimsa peace silk or Habotai silk takes up any natural dye nicely.This piece will be used in a fashion garment and link posted here in future.
22 May

Flora’s Plant dye foraging workshop

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Nettle and alder dye pots. Fabrics soaking premordanted in soya milk
Click on any photo to view enlarged Photos Gallery
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Alder tree cones
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How to pick a nettle (yellow dye)
Plants are simply placed in boiling water and simmered. Soaking overnight is also useful.  Bought dried stock like madder is useful for plants not easily found in UK.
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Nettles soaking and boiling
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Nettle dye bath simmering
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Oak galls dye bath
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Oak galls stored in a jar
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Nettle and Alder dye baths. Fabrics soaking
  Flora used a fabric pre-mordant (to soak fabric in) - soya milk. I use alum at home for silk premordant.
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Measuring out dried madder root
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Madder boiling in pot
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Madder on lace samples
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Nettle dyed linen and lace
To achieve white or cream space designs on the dyed cloth the area has to be resisted.  One resist method is clamping, another is tying with string or rubber bands; to prevent dye penetrating to fabric.  Fabric composition affects dye penetration.  The lace on the left is obviously not natural, but an acrylic or a polyester, with a small amount of cotton which takes the dye.
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Result with Oak Gall dye bath
Oak galls surprisingly made a good light brown; a pleasant coffee or caramel, which would go with other colours. Folding and clamping make a good resist for white or cream designs. Triangles of wood can be used and clamped to form a 'resist' to the dye penetrating.  this method needs experimenting with. As I have a lot of golden silk results from many plant dyes featured on this blog site; they could be overdyed with this clamping method to achieve gold patterns. There are many blogs about this type of 'resist' dyeing, some very accurately done for geometrical results. See my Hand Printing ideas Pinterest board showing many examples of shibori.
Images copyright Amelia Jane Hoskins Please email for use permission.