Category: BACKGROUND

Dyeing with Dried Japanese Indigo Leaves

The easiest way to save Japanese indigo is to dry the leaves. This is also the only option, really, when you grow a small amount of plants. ~ In traditional Japanese dyeing with Japanese indigo, the harvested leaves were composted (fermented) in a very specific way, sprinkling the leaf mass with water and turning it […]

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Lichen Windfall

Lichen windfall is perfect for natural dyeing, since it does no harm to pick up the fallen ones, they will no longer grow. One of the most common and easy-to-recognize lichens in windfall is Ramalina fastigiata. ~ When walking outside on rainy, windy days, I very often find lots of lichens scattered on the ground […]

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London

This year, instead of binge-eating and wrapping a load of stuff, then unwrapping it, we decided to go to London on a Christmas trip. I have loved all the times I’ve traveled around Christmas/New Year (Paris, Chicago, New York, and New Delhi) and London was certainly no exception. It seems that every time I hear […]

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Amazing Dyeing Failures 1

Failure in natural dyeing is commonly defined as not getting the result you expected. Beige, off white, baby yellow and other tones of grime are all examples of colors I have made no attempt to acheive, and yet, I have a big pile of skeins just like that. But there’s actually a lot to be […]

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Curly Dock Mordant

Dock or sorrel are useful plants for mordanting – this was a fact that I’d gotten from reading and made a mental note of. I couldn’t remember where I read it, so I decided to just go ahead and try it. I picked curly (or curled) dock (Rumex crispus) in the roadside around July-August. Curly […]

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Woad – A History of Blue

Finally, the summer holiday is here! I’m going to spend it dyeing (with natural dyes, of course), knitting (with my naturally dyed yarn) and reading (about natural colors, what else??). I just finished reading the Norwegian book “Vaid – En historie om blått” (Woad – A History of Blue) by Anne Sagberg, a well written […]

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Thinking about Woad

Woad is flowering right now, in lovely yellow abundance, and I’m hoping for a good seed harvest. Seeing the abundance of flowers made me want to knit with my woad dyed yarn from last year, and so, it’s become part of a whole obsessive-compulsive series of hats that I’m knitting these days, following Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s […]

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Saxon Blue

Ever since I first read about Saxon blue, produced by reaction indigo with concentrated sulfuric acid, I’ve really wanted to try it. The lawyer Johann Christian Barth is credited with inventing the Saxon blue reaction in 1743. He treated natural indigo with sulfuric acid, then known as “oil of vitriol”. According to de Keijzer, the […]

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Madder Love & a FO

Madder red has been used by humans for millennia. Or, as someone much more eloquent that me put it: “Madder’s diary goes back as far as history’s earliest written pages” (Brian Murphy in “The Root of Wild Madder”). Whenever I dye with madder, and stop to really think about its history, I’m quite fascinated. Yes, […]

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The Quest for Light-Fast Purple, Part One

Purple! This color has spelled trouble for the natural dyer for centuries, millennia even… Tyrian purple, the famous purple used in antiquity, came from Phoenicia (around present-day Lebanon) where the coastal waters were full of snails of the Murex family, from which the dye (6,6′-dibromoindigo) was extracted. In ancient times, Tyrian purple was an immense […]

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