We've all been through some difficult times recently. I hope you have been able to find some comfort in your creative crafts while keeping safe. Personally, I discovered that my new-found interest in gardening was quite therapeutic. Fortunately I had ordered some seeds before lockdown (without knowing what was ahead) so I was equipped for trying my hand at some new plants. Some of these were with the aim of creating my own dye garden: weld, woad and rosemary, and even artichokes (yes, apparantly you can dye with artichokes, but I haven't tried yet). None of these are mature enough for me to harvest any dye material yet, but maybe later....... if I manage to keep them alive!
I did cut back a rather large rosemary bush whose branches were falling over, and after stripping off the leaves and fresh sprigs, I heated them up in a dye bath. I was really pleased with the results on both linen yarn and the Alpalini alpaca/linen blend. Out came a very bright yellow, which I then modified with a dip in an iron bath to create a beautiful soft olive (now in our shop). All skeins are pre-mordanted to ensure colour-fastness, and I only use dyes that have proved to be colour-fast over the centuries (eg Weld, Cutch, Madder, Sweet Chestnut) You can dye with many different plants (eg beetroot, red cabbage, berries) but many are fugitive dyes and tend to fade.
Photos below show the original colour of the rosemary dye bath, before I modified it to olive.
You can purchase plant-dyed linen yarn here.
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