Monday, April 23, 2012

dyeing with strawberry plant leaves

I had a nice dyeing surprise the other day.  I was looking around outside, thinking about what's in abundance, when I noticed the reddish stems on the wild strawberry plants.  I wondered if they might give off any color, and since there are literally millions of them in my yard, I gathered some leaves for the dye pot.

Since so many of the plants grow in shade, they never give fruit, but as I found out they do give color.

I used an alum mordant on all of my fiber.  On cotton I got a rustic yellow, a pastel yellow when a tsp of ammonia was added, and a greyish green with an iron overdip.

The silk and wool picked up similar shades, with the plain alum mordanted fiber looking more tan than yellow.  The silk with the ammonia is such a bright yellow it almost looks neon. (though you can't tell so much from my photos)

Cotton floss picked up just a bit of color, but also turned towards green with an iron overdip.

I've read that you can use these same plant leaves to make a tea, though I haven't tried it yet.

This was a pretty encouraging dye effort, and in keeping with the theme of abundance, I think I'll have a go at some of that creeping charlie in my flower bed next.


lynn bowes said...

Plants just don't stand a chance around your house, do they? i do love the chartreuse one, I must admit and I can just picture you stoking the fire around a bubbling iron caldron in your backyard . . . xo

Sonia / COZY MEMORIES said...

Wonderful !! If only we had wild strawberries over here ... le sigh
I'm in the yellow too, and I can't wait to show you !

Mousy Brown said...

Beautiful! But not nearly as lovely as my felted stone which arrived today - It is perfect, thank you so, so much! (I am sorry to put this here - I couldn't find an email and I so wanted to let you know how much I loved it! :D)

Jaime said...

Nice muted colors - lovely idea!

Mona said...

Wild strawberries have invaded my garden in a couple of years. The kids brought home a couple of plants from the woods, and they've multiplied a million times over since then. I was going to give them away, but I just changed my mind about that. Thanks ;)

Anonymous said...

Lovely! Can't wait to see what you get from the creeping Charlie. I have loads of it in my yard.


Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Lovely the neon yellow silk :D And I can vouch for strawberry leaf tea!

Margie Oomen said...

i did creeping charlie last year

Doreen Frost said...

You are SO inspiring. I am going to try this as soon as possible. I just need to find the alum mordant...

Wishing you a lovely day,

monique's mess said...

Ive started to take an interested in natural dying and have been reading varing blogs - all use alum. My question is where do you purchase this, in what quantity do you use it and is there any special preparation. Sorry more than one question. Love the green of the strawberry plant

Scrapiana said...

What a wonderful surprise! So good when something plentiful rewards your efforts so richly.


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