Natural Dye Tests No. 9 of 2016


Hello! Today is the ninth installment of natural dye tests. I feel like I’ve done more natural dye tests than that but most of these posts have three different test materials so if you do the math that’s roughly 27 tests.


I think that’s quite a lot of tests. Also considering that the majority of the materials I used are not traditional dye plants or ones that you would find in a book I would say that there was a lot of new discoveries. Anyways this week the tests include red clematis petals, red daylilies, and a mix of purple and black petunias. I was surprised my how clear the colour of the daylily dye was, the colour of the petunia dye and the clematis dye was not a surprise to me.


I used the same dye technique for all three dyes and it is my most common dye making method of the summer so lets get started with that and then move onto the results. All three of my dye materials were dried on my drying racks (they are basically canvas stretchers with wire mesh stretched on them). Then I transferred them each into their own jars that were topped off with rainwater (tap water is fine to but I did collect a lot of rain water this summer so I am using that instead). These were left to soak for two days then the plant matter was removed and discarded and a plethora of fabric scraps was added to each jar. Now is the time when each dye bath differs in the form of results.


I’ll start off with clematis petals. The flowers were red and I would collect the ones that had fallen off the plant and then I would bring them inside to dry on the racks that I mentioned earlier. I found that these clematis petals dried much more quickly than the purple-pink ones I tested out last time. Those ones remained papery even after “drying” two weeks. These ones were dried by the next day! So I have a pretty steady turnover time on my drying racks. Also I made a note of how wonderful they smell in their jar once they have been dried. Most of the flowers I dry are placed in jars and over time the smell of the flowers accumulates and often it is very musky and heavy. Not perfumy and wonderfully sweet at all. But these clematis petals smell like orange citrus! So by far one of the better smells I have experienced with dried petals.


As for the results, I was not surprised to see that the dye was a red ruby colour. And often a ruby dye from petals gives you a pink dye. And this proved to be true. I didn’t make a very potent dye bath and I think that reflected on the potency of the colour. The resulting colour was pink but a fleshy pink. I would love to try another more potent dye bath just to see what the difference would be. I don’t think I would use this dye colour for the main part of a shirt that I could make but it would make a good accent colour, like a belt for example.


Next up is the red daylily dye. The last test I did with orange dailyness was a disappointment to me. They resulted in a muddy colour that was not worth the effort (it was a murky yellow if you missed that post a while back) unless they were the last flowers on earth that could give you yellow… I digress. The orange dye assured me that I would not need to collect those flowers next summer (though I may conduct some frozen daylily tests just to be sure). But I found these red daylilies on the side of the sidewalk and I only took the dried and dying ones (I think there is no shame in deadheading for other people, especially since they will never know). I was hoping that the red flowers would be more successful than their orange counterpart.


And they were, I got a vibrant orange-red dye, which translated into a pink-orange colour on the fabric. A coral or peach colour if you want to be more specific. I really like this colour and I would love to see some chiffon dyed with the red daylilies! That would be very nice… I think that wheels have started to turn.


Then lastly we come to the black and purple petunia dye. It is a mix of the two colours because once they are dried I can’t tell the difference between the two. Anyways I just went with it and I was hoping for a blue dye in the end. And obviously what I wanted to happen did not happen so I got an odd mucky purple dye and mixed results.


It appears that the cellulose fibres came out silver, and the protein fibres came out purple or blue-grey. I like the results however I do think I am more attracted to the blue-grey colours because it is closer to what I wanted initially. Also the purple is very similar to alkanet purple which I like occasionally but not all the time. So if I were to make this dye again I would note which fibres resulted in the grey-blue and make sure to use those fabrics because that is a more appealing colour to me on the whole and there is never a moment where I don’t like that colour.


That takes us to the end of the dye tests for this week, enjoy your weekend and until next time!






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s