I got the eco dyeing bug from India Flint's book, Eco Colour. There are quite a few of us here on blogland that got the same bug. A few that I've been following are: Kaite, Deanna, Jude, Jacky and the latest one I came across is call Resurrection, it's amazing! Once you got this bug you would never walk pass a tree or flowers without translating them into colour you can dye from. There is a beautiful Australia garden where I work. I take a walk around it for exercise daily. On the same walk I look out for what would be possible dyeing materials. I of course only gather the ones on the ground blown by the wind - branches, leaves and flowers. These are the best because they are mature and ready for dyeing. The last batch I dyed a few days ago using Eucalyptus branches, leaves and flower buds. I don't have a clue what species of Eucalyptus they are. I have read somewhere that there are 270 species of Eucalyptus in Australia. Am I right Kaite?
The last couple of years when I was heavily into basket weaving I actually used materials from the same garden and made a few baskets from them.
In this dye batch I used silk from the lining of a vintage Kimono. Another piece of vintage silk, linen and cotton. I wrapped each piece around a thick branch and used some leaves to roll it up tightly and secured it with elastic bands, I then boiled up some leaves and branches in a saucepan I use only for dyeing. I sat the 4 bundles on top and immersed some in liquid and steamed them for 30-40 minutes. I left the bundles for a day or two before unwrapping them.
After I unwrapped the bundles I rinsed them thoroughly and pressed them. Eucalyptus dye generally gives an orange to brown tint depending on the type of trees. You can see these fabrics were dyed in the same bath, but they turned out differently.
Above left is vintage silk I bought off the roll and it seems to be taking the dye quite well. The piece on the right is cotton from a tablecloth. I just wandered if it's not 100% cotton because it didn't take the dye all that well.
Silk Kimono lining turned out very nicely. I love the mottled look caused by the leaves I wrapped in the bundle. Click to see a close up of the hand stitches that came with the piece when I got it. It also has loose thread that I will use to stitch back into it. I actually bought the whole silk lining for only $10 from Ziguzagu. I'm having fun cutting small pieces from it for dyeing.
This piece is linen that used to be part of a tablecloth. It has the eyelets design running through the piece. I think linen takes the dye very well. You can find linen blouses from op-shops for this purpose. I've found a few of them lately, but they are such good quality blouses that I can't bring myself to cut them up. I will wear them for a while before I put them in the dye bath.
If you have never dyed before, you should have a go. It's easy and fun, but be warned; it's addictive too. You may ask what will you do with the fabric after you dyed it? Right, for me because I like playing with cloth and stitches so I intend to use the hand dyed fabric for projects. Take one of Jude's online workshops and you will understand what I mean...!