Sunday, 21 March 2010


Yesterday I decided that I would make time, I have been trying to make time for the past few weeks mind, to conduct some fresh colour tests for future dye projects.

I wanted to start basic with what I know best - Eucalyptus dyes. I used a secondry dye that had been brewed a few weeks a ago and stored, and began by warming it gently. I then cut up several sample pieces of silk and threw them all in the pot (below) and set the timer rolling.
(Please note that the flash was used and therefore the liquid dye was not quite as bright as this photograph is showing!)
The silk swatches were removed every 15 minutes. There were 5 batches of swatches so the longest time soaked totalled 75 minutes. The results for solely Eucalyptus dyed swatches can be seen below with the various times marked.
The remaining swatches were then divided into three ready for their next stage of experimentation, which was to add them to colour modifiers to see if any changes would occur.
The modifiers I had prepared were a Soda Water Modifier, a Vinegar Water Modifier and a Iron Water Modifier as below...

(All three modifiers were prepared by me, but the Iron Water is marked as home made as this was solely prepared from re-claimed rusty nails rather than a powder bought solution.)

The next step was to prepare all the various water modifiers to all the individually timed swatches. So out came the plastic cups. Each were marked as to what their contents would be, then a teaspoon of the specific modifier was added along side half a cup of cold tap water.

The swatches were then added and photographed after 15 minutes to record any changes...

Already at 15 minutes soaking time I could begin to see colour changes.

Then they were photographed at 30 minutes....

Then again at 45 minutes...

And finally at 60 minutes....

It is clear from the photographs that a lot of the colour changes occur within the first 30 minutes of being added to the colour modifier.
The swatches were then chopped in half, leaving one half in the pots to soak for a further hour with an additional teaspoon of modifier.

The results from both tests were then recorded beside each other to compare for additional changes and to store for future records and dyeing times.
Soda Water Modifier Results
Vinegar Water Modifier

Iron Water Modifier

And that is just a few tests from one leaf source! I have plans to test a lot of different plants and flowers, and hopefully it won't be too long before I find the time again!

I hope you have enjoyed this post and found it quite interesting, would love to know your thoughts.


  1. remind me of my Dad! He was a chemical engineer turned Episcopal priest with a variety of hobbies.....including natural dyes. He used flowers and plants and bugs he found around ranch and then dyed cotton yarns for my mother to weave. I have a gorgeous wall hanging they did with all natural dyes and colors from red to cream & sage green. He had several notebooks of notes and "dye trials". I wish I'd known about you when we cleaned the house out a couple of years ago! I gave them to a friend that mother taught to weave and she wants to learn to dye yarns, so hopefully she'll get some use out of them. Your work is beautiful and your patience and attention to detail shine through!

  2. Thank you for such a lovely comment Dottie :) I would have loved to have known you Dad x

  3. Thanks for sharing, it was very interesting

  4. that was fascinating. I did some dyeing in the past, had a lovely result on wool from the outer green husks of walnuts, gorgeous bronze colour, you have amazing patience to do all those trials,
    pam x

  5. It's really interesting to see your process. It reminds me of dying Easter eggs as a child. It was so exciting to see how the colors turned out!

  6. Fascinating to see some details about a subject I know absolutely nothing about. Thank you for sharing some secrets of your trade!

  7. thanks for all the lovely comments :) I always get very excited when i'm trying things out! Have more to post but may have to wait till the weekend when there's more time. Keep your eyes peeled :) x



Related Posts with Thumbnails