Natural Dye Sample Test no.4 of 2016

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Hello everyone, it is time for round four of natural tests for this year. Today we are taking a look at testing out two iris dyes and a poppy dye. I have been collecting the flowers and petals of these in the freezer since the beginning of June. So I thought it was about time to test out some of these plants. The results that I got were quite surprising though delightful.


Last year I did collect these plants however I used them all towards the curtains in my room which was a learning curve last year. But to recap this is when I discovered how to do a frozen bundle dye. So with this in mind I didn’t really get a chance to see the colours which each plant would give in a dye bath.


And that is what I was after in these tests also I needed to make some room in the freezer as I had three going on four bags of frozen flowers in there.


So let’s get started!


The first dye test used these gold and burgundy irises. Their official name is iris germanica “supreme sultan”. I love them and have talked about them many a time on this blog (or at least I feel that I have). I really didn’t get a sense of what colour I would get from them. I was thinking that the two different colours would give two different dye colours, a yellow from the gold petals and a brown or red colour from the burgundy part. And in thinking this I thought that the two colours would mix together and give a muddy foggy orange type of colour.


And boy was I wrong! Instead I got blue. Mind you it was a bit of a turquoise colour the next day(I think some yellow colour leaked out from the gold petals and a blue colour would have come from the burgundy petals).


When I saw this dye I was shocked as I was expecting something messier. And as for the results I will say they probably could have had a more intense colour if I hadn’t been so stingy with the flowers. I believe I only used three or four for this test (they are about palm sized flowers when they are fresh) so it is understandably a bit lack lustre but I do get an idea of what kind of results I would get in a bigger dye bath.


Most of the colours I got were in the cool colour family, most of the silk samples were green though some were purple, the linen samples didn’t seem to absorb much colour despite being mordanted for the most part, I got some yellow colours on the wool and cotton canvases, etc. Overall I would say this is an interesting dye but at this point I would not say that it is a solid dye material, interesting but not reliable. But I am happy that I tried it out and may do further experiments in the future.


The second dye test was another iris test. These were just the regular blue-purple irises that you see around in gardens. Out of it I got another blue dye but I was expecting that this time round since in my past experiences flowers of this colour have given me blue. So it was no surprise but the way certain fibres absorbed the dye was surprising.



I got an assortment of blues, greens, pale purples, and yellows. The cottons seemed to go a bit yellow but overall I wouldn’t say they absorbed a lot of dye in general. The linens absorbed basically nothing. Then an assortment of cotton-nylon blends absorbed a green colour. And finally it was the silks that absorbed the blues, this did not surprise me.


I was very happy with the way my favourite silk-cotton blend turned out, blue! I see a blue and burgundy shirt that I make in my future!


Again this was not a potent dye test but it was strong enough to be able to tell what would happen on a bigger level so I am happy with these.


The third dye test used the petals off of the pink oriental poppy that we have. I used these in the bundle dye curtains that I did last year and saw the colours that could be achieved through those. But here again I was testing out what  could be achieved through a dye bath. On the curtains I dyed with them I got a pinky-purple colour. It looked like you had made a perfect stamp of colour from the petals almost.


I was expecting something in that realm understandably and that was the colour of the dye bath though it did look sort of murky and brown.


But most of my dye samples came out looking yellow. They appeared yellow from afar, then when you take a closer look at them they are taupe, then two nylon-cotton samples somehow turned green. All very crazy I know. I will say that I like that the turban cotton that I tested out appears taupe from afar and up close as I had an idea for a project in that fabric and that family of colour.


I like these samples but I am not sure I would ever depend on these petals as a dye bath for a specific colour. Overall I prefer these petals as a bundle dye as it displays they exotic nature better and make it more worth my effort then.


All in all I would say that these tests were interesting and gave a strange but intriguing range of colours. I will keep the blue-purple irises in mind as a blue on my favourite silk-cotton blend! That is a big plus for me as I always want a subtle beautiful blue (and to be honest sometimes indigo dye is just too intense for my taste). And I never thought I would say this but I am kind of getting sick of getting green dyes (this is the third dye in the row)… Now I feel like I am after finding a blue colour, maybe some purples and reds… Just to change things up a bit ha!

That is all for now, until next time!





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