Thursday, August 04, 2011

dyeing with Tansy and...


Natural dyeing experiments always seem to surprise, sometimes they're underwhelming and sometimes they're fantastic.  This week's experiment falls in the latter category.  I love it when that happens.


After noticing a proliferation of common tansy on our roadsides I did a little research to see what uses this plant might have.  I read that a bright yellow dye can be coaxed from it so I plucked an armful of this lovely and aromatic weed to put in the dye pot.

After simmering the plant, stem and all, for about 2 hours in water a bright yellow dye emerged (as shown in Monday's post) that held on well to my alum-mordanted wool, cotton floss, and silk organza.  (and made a lovely yellow circle on my countertop too...ahem)


I love the results so much I've already made another batch of dye.  I'm not sure how long the tansy stays around and you gotta make hay while the sun shines, right?  While looking at examples of tansy-dyeing online I found some wonderful results on Brambleberries in the Rain and noticed that she had also made dye with...


 black beans!  (some of you knew what that blue was, you clever souls you!) 
I had black beans in the cupboard and couldn't resist trying it out.   I followed Brambleberries' directions, using the soaking water from the beans for my dye.  The results...


...utterly fantastic.  What I love most of all is that because only the soaking water is used, I was still able to make the beans for dinner the next day.  No waste and I almost always have this dyestuff on hand. 

Since I had plenty of dye from each, I did a mixed jar to make this green that I also love.



Isn't that just the perfect palette of summer in a bowl?

I did a bit of wet-felting with the wool last night and while the yellow held its color nicely, the green and blue faded quite a bit.  I suspect though, that I didn't mordant the wool quite as well as I had with the yellow so I'll be trying another round soon, just to see.  Good thing we like beans around here...

Have a great day, everyone.

22 comments:

Jovita said...

geeez, everything you do just blows me away. i'd pay good money to just come live in your pocket for a while. greetings from a sunny belgium!

Amy O'H. said...

Very pretty colors! Can't wait to see what you make with the wool.

Cozy Memories said...

oh. my. gosh.
I knew the tansy would dye yellow (and I've read that it's one of the strongest yellow dye) but I would have never guessed that you had used black beans !!! Smart girl ! The result is simply AMAZING !!! I love that you, Margie & I have been dyeing these last days. <3
And the photos are totally marvelous too !
oxoxo

Marilyn said...

I love it when you play...such beautiful colours...always learn something here too....like I'd love some yarn in those colours...

and isn't it....make yellow while the tansy blooms..:p

Elizabeth said...

The black bean dying is brilliant! I'm going to try it.

Chelsea said...

black beans! amazing!

Terrie said...

All three gorgeous colors I LOVE. I tried red beet root which also come out yellow (I thought it would have been red). I must give black bean a go. Blue is lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Mona said...

The colours looks so good together! I love the yellow tansy yields, but the yellow I get from tansy is different from yours, not so bright but more 'earthy'-like. I've never tried (or even heard of) getting blue from black beans. Such a lovely colour! Perhaps its fading is caused by the dye not being so fixed/steady, rather than lack of mordating?
- by the way, you can dye with dried tansy as well :)

Scrapiana said...

Really lovely. You're SO inspiring, Lisa! I too love the dye-with-the-beans-and-eat-them-too idea. Nothing wasted! Look forward to seeing your next experiment.

Sarah said...

LOVE the bean dye!!!! Super exciting.

k said...

i am totally gonna try this with black beans - thanks for sharing. i will let you know how my colour holds up, although i don't tend to get my fabrics wet after. and yes, you have made a perfect summer palette there!

Margie Oomen said...

love that
dyeing with beans
got to try this soon

kristin said...

you just get me thinking...i made beets for dinner tonight (boiled them)and i couldn't bring myself to throw away the water!! have you used beet bath before? i just feel like dunking some silk scraps in to see what happens...you inspire so much...

on another note...i'll be up your way in a few weeks...do you have any interest in meeting a fellow blogger? (that would be me...)

Tara said...

Stunning, Lisa! And black beans, huh? Pretty cool.

thewillowsnest said...

they are all so gorgeous!!
You are tempting a newbie dyer' into trying the black beans..we live in Texas now.. you gotta get good at eating black beans :).. would unbleached muslin take it well ?

Com play in my give- away if you have time :)
Hmm.. what can I make with that blue........
Love the pics and the info. I Don't have any of that pretty Tansy though :(
Cheers , Helen

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Thank you so much, everyone!

Marilyn - yes, yes...make yellow while the tansy blooms...silly me. :D

Mona - dried!! Of course! Why didn't I think of that? Thank you for mentioning that, I'm going to pick a load of them and dry them for future use.

Kristin - I have used beet dye on fabric but I can't remember how it turned out. I don't think it's super stable, but try it! And YES! I'd love to meet you. I'll email you later today.

Thanks Helen, I'll stop by. :D

Cynthia said...

I just love that last photo! So pretty! Thanks for so nicely mentioning my blog. :) You had some beautiful results with the black beans.

Tansy is one of my favorite herbs to gather in the summer for dyeing. I take my kids out this time of year and we all gather some and what does not immediately go into the dye pot I dry for later use throughout the year. It is a wonderful herb in and out of the garden!

Linda Stubbs said...

Hi, I am new......found you on Pinterest! Like, a lot!

Thank you so much for this info. Your photo's are so beautiful. Today I will be trying the black beans. Hope my color comes out as beautiful as yours.

Blessings from my farm,
Linda

Noga from Israel said...

Love it! Great colors!

natalia said...

Wow! just incredible!
Hello, Lisa! I`am quilter and following you!

Pakwipa Panyapornwijit said...

Thank you so much for great idea l have to try it

Lauren said...

That's really beautiful. I will have to remember this when spring starts to bloom again and flowers come out. I'd love to try my hand at playing with different dyes. I am pretty sure I have some black beans in my pantry and that baby blue is just to gorgeous to pass up!

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