I must have shown you the photo of my ornamental grape every autumn. It's such a gorgeous colour from the beginning to the end. It takes about a month before the leaves drop completely. Because I have got into natural dyeing lately I thought I would try all the autumn leaves I can find. In our garden we have a grapevine, fig tree, apricot tree and an olive tree and I can use their leaves to dye with. I'm not restricted to only the leaves in my garden. I also gathered some oak leaves and acorns from Canberra on our recent trip as well.
I thought I would have a break from dyeing due to the cold weather, but how can I with all these beautiful autumn leaves all around me? Actually it's not as bad as I thought. After I gather the leaves I just soak them in rain water for a couple of days.
After soaking the leaves for 24 hours the natural colour starts to appear. Next, I boil it up slowly for an hour. I usually let the leaves sit in the pot until the next day due to my limited time.
Next, I strained off the leaves and added hand spun yarn (not by me) that I mordant with alum. I bring the liquid and yarn up to the boil slowly and keep the temperature at around 80'C for an hour. I leave the yarn in the dye overnight before I take it out. You can see the colour in the above photo.
I added some cotton into the mix and they did pick up some colour, but not as strong as wool. It's good to have various shades of coloured threads handy for stitch projects.
I dyed this yarn last year using onion skins. I think I only used a small amount of onion skins to get this delicious yellow colour. As simple as it is, onion skin and the strong colour it gives is often overlooked. Try it if you haven't done so....
This golden mustard colour I achieved from autumn fig leaves. The colour is much more beautiful in reality. I'm so happy with it that I put two more skeins of yarn in the same pot. It also dyed silk fabric beautifully too.
Having lot of autumn leaves from the fig tree I thought I would do some eco dyeing with them. I have used green fig leaves a few times already, but this is the first time with autumn leaves. I haven't opened them yet. Let's hope they will turn out just as good as the green leaves.
I packed in quite a lot of leaves in this bundle. I mordant the kimono silk with alum before I dyed. I steamed the bundles for just over an hour. I don't really keep track of the time so precisely. I like to let nature takes it course and surprise me with the result!
These vivid grape leaves are just beautiful. In a week as we enter winter, they will all be gone. I'm glad I captured them in this bundle. After the bundles have been steamed. I left them to cool overnight. The next day I put them in the dye liquid bucket leftover from the natural dye I mentioned above. I accidentally did this when I went to Bangkok and didn't want the bundles to dry out. The result from this method is much richer than leaving the bundles to sit outside.
The Japanese paper (washi) coil basket I posted here is now finished.I ran out of paper so I had to stop. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. It's 8" wide by 2.5" high. I'm thinking of using it as an ornament for our beach cottage "Seabird".
This week the weather is wet and cold. It's very unusual for this time of year, but we did get gorgeous weather last week so I can't complain.
Until next time.