Cones for Cones

Finally I have been able to slip into my natural dyeing plans. When I first got back home I was in a sort of rut. I had just finished all my assignments and I knew I was going on a quick road-trip with my mom to celebrate my aunts 60th birthday. So it was hard for me to get into any kind of habitual routine. Anyways after that tangent… This is my second round of dye baths this week, and this was pine cone day. I had collected two different types of pinecones.


The types of pinecones that I used (according to my rough and possibly incorrect attempt at identifying different types of pine trees) were Tamarack Larch cones and Lodgepole pine cones.


(The Tamarack cones are on the left and the Lodgepole cones are on the right)

I started off by rinsing the cones to try to get rid of any dirt and other particles. After that I filled the pots with water and boiled up the cones.

The Tamarack cones leached out a pale honey colour and the Lodgepole pine cones leached out a more deep rich amber-red colour.

(Tamarack is on the left and Lodgepole is on the right)

When I inserted my cotton I grew sceptic of the Tamarack dye because the fabric did not seem to receive the dye very much. The bleached cotton seemed almost completed unaffected by the dye. Whereas the Lodgepole dye seems more affective because of its darker and red hued colour.


(Again, Tamarack on the left and Lodgepole on the right)

Again I decided to let the cotton soak in the dyes over-night to see if that would affect them in any way. However with these dyes there seemed to be little benefit from doing this. Here are the final results:


As you can guess the sample on the bottom is the Tamarack and the one on top is the Lodgepole. I declare the Tamarack dye a FAIL. I would not do it again, the colour pay-off is so little that I would not go through the effort again… But hey, that is learning; and I am actually sort of excited that I got my first fail sample. Not sure why though… Anywho, the Lodgepole dye was successful. But it eerily reminded me of my first avocado dye samples. So I held them up to compare and…

See! An exact match! Okay now I have found a cheaper avocado alternative… Not sure how often I will use it but at least I now that if I am broke I can just walk to the park and rob the tree of about three dozen pinecones and voila I am in business!

So in conclusion I discovered: that Tamarack pinecones are a no-go, Lodgepole pinecones are an alternative for pale avocado dye, pine cone dye smells good (like pine, so better than most natural dyes), be prepared to scrub the bejeezus out of the pots after you are done with them because sap is a thing, and that when you boil up pinecones they close up! See:


(For the last time, Tamarack on the left and Lodgepole on the right)

That is all for now, Sayonara!

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