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GROWING A NATURAL DYE GARDEN

Ellie Fisher All Blog Posts Natural Dye Garden Natural Dyeing

Having threatened for several months to write a blog on what I’ve been up to in the garden, I thought I ought to follow through! I get so much joy from spending time in my garden and i'm keen to see how much I can grow in the space that I have. I'd also like to share my progress and show you what is possible with limited space so that you too can reap the benefits of growing your own dye plants. A couple of years ago I claimed a sunny little patch of the garden that backs onto my...

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PREPARING PLANT FIBRES FOR NATURAL DYEING

Claudia Gosse All Blog Posts Natural Dyeing Sustainable Textiles

 INTRODUCTION                                    The success of your natural dyeing project will depend on how well the fibres are prepared.  To get rewarding and even dye results it’s necessary for fibres to be clean and free of any impurities, such as the sizings used in the manufacturing process.  This cleaning is known as ‘scouring’, which sounds a little drastic but really just means washing thoroughly. NB: you can only dye 100% natural fibres with natural dyes. Synthetic and mixed fibres will not respond well to natural...

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NATURAL DYEING WITH ACORNS

Claudia Gosse All Blog Posts Natural Dyeing Sustainable Textiles

Learn how to naturally dye with foraged acorns. This informative blog will give you a fascinating insight into the history of oak trees and how embedded they are in our culture. You will learn how to extract colour from acorns to use as a natural dye on both animal and plant fibres. From foraging and processing to dyeing and modifying to extend the colour range.

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NATURALLY DYEING WITH DYER’S COREOPSIS (Coreopsis tinctoria)

Claudia Gosse All Blog Posts Natural Dyeing Sustainable Textiles

Coreopsis tinctoria is one of over 75 species in the family Asteraceae.   Originally native to the prairies of North America it is now cultivated world-wide and comes in a range of yellows and reds or, like Coreopsis tinctoria, yellow with red centres.   As the word ‘tinctoria’ indicates this is a recognised dye plant and although historical reference to it is limited, it is known to have been used as a source of natural dye by the plains tribes of North America.  It’s also thought to have been used by the early civilisations of Central and South America.  Sometimes called ‘tickseed’, a reference to its insect-like seeds, the plant was reportedly used in bedding to ward off bedbugs. 

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NATURAL DYEING WITH COMFREY (Symphytum officinale)

Claudia Gosse All Blog Posts Natural Dyeing Sustainable Textiles

Comfrey leaves can be foraged for dyeing throughout the summer, and I didn’t have to go far to gather a basketful.  I wanted enough leaves to dye my fibres at 200% WOF (weight of fibre).  So as I planned to dye 100g of fibres I needed 200g of comfrey leaves, which I then left outside for a couple of hours to give the insect life a chance to depart.

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