Nice and Natural?

On Saturday, my local guild of spinners, weavers and dyers was lucky enough to have a workshop led by Jenny Dean. Jenny works with natural dyes, so it’s completely different to anything that I do. However it was the Wild Colour book that got me interested in dyeing – so Jenny has a lot to answer for!!


Please excuse the photo quality – these were taken on my phone.

Preparing leaves by cutting off the stalks.


Laying the leaves onto half of a piece of cotton. I had fresh and dried euclalyptus leaves, laurel leaves and bindweed leaves.


More decorating with some tea leaves


Then I forgot to take photos for a bit – you fold the other half of your fabric over your design and roll it with a rolling pin to flatten it. It then gets bundled up into a small tight package and tied up.

Those with patience can leave the bundle somewhere warm like a compost bin for as long as they can bear too (we’re talking at least several days if not weeks). Those with less patience can steam the bundle over boiling water for 30 minutes. Guess which I went for!

Sample number 2


Eucalyptus leaves, onion skins and turmeric.

As soon as I got home the bundles went into the steamer

This is sample 1


This is sample 2


I should say that my cotton wasn’t mordanted, and this might have improved the results.

I’d class my results as interesting – I love the technique and would like to play with it more. It’s ideal for guild workshops where there’s a limit to how much mess you can make – and I think you could safely do this with children.

However what it’s really made me want to do is to dye some more fabric. Thanks Jenny. That’s another fine mess you’ve got me into!!

You can find out a lot more about natural dyeing on Jenny’s blog

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