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The Fibre Garden : Natural Dyes
Showing 1–18 of 25 results
Nature or natural dyes are just so darned much fun. Whether you use live plants from your own neighbourhood, or use the various dried products from wood, bark, flowers, leaves or even bugs, it’s always a thrill to pull those skeins out of the pot, because you never know ahead of time exactly what you will get! We’ve put together a selection of nature dyes here that we love working with ourselves, and our hope is that you will too.
We are still loading this section with all kinds of tips and instructions for each dye. Our full current lineup is loaded into the cart though, and stocks are good on most products.
The photo you see here is a scarf that Dyeguy (John) knit using 16 of his natural-dyed yarns, mostly from local plants in the area. You can see the scarf anytime, it’s always on display here in the shop.
Black Oak Bark, Ground
Black Walnut Hulls, Crushed
Coarsely ground dried hulls of Juglans nigra.
Use on protein or cellulose fibres. Yields rich browns and tans. A substantive dye but pre-mordanting recommended for improved lightfast and colourfast qualities. Use at 25-50% WOF for medium shades.
TO USE: soak 24 hours or longer to rehydrate. Simmer at 185-200°F for 1.5 hrs. Cool and strain. Enter fibre and simmer and simmer at 185-200°F for 1 to 1.5 hrs.
Light and washfastness: good to excellent.
NOTE: WEAR GLOVES!! Clean pots and utensils well, this dye tends to stain everything it touches.
Cutch, Ground Extract
Indigo – Pre-reduced
Pre-reduced (or "instant") Indigo comes as freeze-dried crystals, made in India. This saves the dyer the hassle of working with caustic lye to dissolve natural ground indigo into a stock solution.
All that's required to be done is to dissolve the Indigo crystals in a bucket of warm water with Thiourea dioxide (a reducing agent that removes air from the vat), add Soda Ash (dissolved in boiling water) to raise the pH, stir together and wait an hour or two. Do this outside on a nice warm day, or indoors with good ventilation.