Summer Dyeing on the Porch

The beautiful flowers of the summer garden offer riches for the dyepots of natural dyers. This summer Dorothy and Roberta, members of the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild, and I raided our gardens and gathered on my porch for a dyeing party.

We used the dahlias, begonias, marigolds, daylilies, zinnias and rudbeckia to make bundles as India Flint (http://prophet-of-bloom.blogspot.ca) describes in her book Eco Colour.HA_petals laid out.

To make the bundles, we laid out the flowers on silk pre-mordanted with alum, rolled up the fabric, then tied it tightly.

HA_petal bundle

Once the bundles were ready, we loaded them into the steamer, ready to cook.

HA_fibre bundles

While the bundles were steaming, we did some immersion dyeing with French marigold flowers that I’d cooked up the day before. Gardeners have to compete for marigolds with slugs, who have a passion for them and will quickly eat them to the ground. I grow mine in containers and, flashlight in hand, do a nightly slug patrol.

6French marigolds

We added our fabric and fibre to the dyebath and turned on the electric hotplate that lives on my porch.

HA_dyepot

While the dyepot was heating, we did some dyeing and overdyeing with the indigo vat I keep going. It’s such an easy and fast way to dye—no mordanting or heating is needed.

8DSCN2052

9DSCN2064

When the bundles and marigold dyeing were finished, we set them out to cool. But no unwrapping those bundles yet. They need to be left to sit at least overnight to let the colour set in more deeply—torture for the curious!

10DSCN2058

The results of our wonderful day of dyeing with summer flowers.

HA_colours2

HA_results

HA_colours3

Heather Apple, Ruby Slippers Creations, Flickr

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