Yellow x dye project

Nature dying fascinates me. I find it amazing that you can carefully record what you did, how you did it and two years later when you do it again the results are different. They should be the same, nothing changed but obviously it did. The plant had access to better nutrition or more water, something was different. It is that unpredictability that I enjoy. I have done a lot of dying, but I do not consider myself to be a good dyer. I cannot recreate colors from looking at a sample. (I can do that with paint.) I do not dye yard goods. I also regularly get variegated yarn, which is medieval for bad dye job. They prized a uniform color.


A handful of different colors I have dyed.

Over time I have taught a few classes, and taken very few (nothing is offered locally.) I read and I experiment. To be a dyer a home dyer in Pre-1000 England probably meant you were a hedge row dyer.  I live in Yorktown, Virginia and my hedgerow plants are very different than an English hedge row. I have started to research non-native invasive species from England. Those are plants I can find locally. It has been slow going. I hope to get a hold of some seeds to plant in my garden this summer, but our climate is not a good match for English weather and a lot of plants will not grow here.


20 different madder colors from a single dye pot.


20 different logwood colors from a single dye pot.


Fiber and Folage event where I demonstrated natural dyes.


Ladies Bedstraw plant which I carefully nurtured, until it was harvested for the roots. It produced a light coral color.

I have started to branch out in the mordants I use when dying. I now use alum, copper and iron, all of which would have been available to an Anglo-Saxon Housewife. I am starting to do post dips with wood ash or vinegar. I am also trying to be better about labeling things. I still enjoy the cut it up and stuff it in a pot approach. I have run a couple of dye tests, which I would like to repeat with more colors. I have included pictures from my dye sample bag. Right now most of the skeins are being horded, when they really should be used. I will try and work on that but do not hold your breath.


20 different shades from Alkynet, which are a yucky gray.


20 different shades from Turmeric with a cold water process. Turmeric is very ph sensitive.


4 shades of brown made with the 4 common mordants using Eucalyptus. This was a very stinky dye pot.

The search for yellow x