Monday, December 14, 2015

Winter Dye Pot Tales

I haven't been getting much sewing done lately.  I've been holed up in my freezing garage, hunkered down over the dye pots (I now have three...) freezing my patootie off and getting addicted to eco-printing.

Fall is a wonderful time to be introduced to dyeing with plants because the colors are so wonderful and the windfall is plentiful.  I've been all over town collecting fallen nectarine leaves (thank you Lisa), decorative plum leaves (thank you Diane), eucalyptus of several varieties (thank you Joanie), persimmon (thank you Daniella), apple, locust, dodinea, maple, name it.

I have managed to get some sewing done.  I was left with dozens of small pieces of cashmere that I used to test the color of different plants so I made them into scarves.   
Above I used plum, eucalyptus and apple in an iron/eucalyptus bath.

A closer look at the same scarf.

The above scarf is made from a sweater that had quite a bit more pile so the images are softer.  I used apple, eucalyptus and orange onion skins.  Iron/eucalyptus bath.

This one I tried bougainvillea, not too strong a print, I'll have to work on that.  The lower edge is maple.  Scarves give a good opportunity for hand stitching because it will be seen up close.  You can really see the raw edges on this one.  They will felt and soften quite a bit after just a couple of wearings.

This one I think I used (oops, I learned later not to trust my memory and have been taking better notes!) things from the Pacific Northwest in the India Flint class.

I'm enjoying the idea of using the pieces from sweaters in their original shape instead of cutting them into perfect squares.  I got this idea from Gwen Spencer who is using this technique to spur her creative process.  At the bottom of this scarf you can see the armhole on the edge.

I have dozens of new samples and pieces, mostly in the lime green/yellows from nectarine leaves, fig leaves and apple leaves.  I'll show those after the holidays.  Stay warm and enjoy the season.


  1. Your scarves are lovely! Well worth (for viewers!) your chilled posterior!

  2. Lovely patterns and I love the idea of the imperfect squares, adds an interesting quality. How come everybody has all these light coloured clothes all mina are dark so useless for repurposing as dyed items.

  3. Wonderful, Gayle. I have a few jars of slow eco dyeing going on in my space right now. You've achieved some delightful colors. I love what you've done with the pieces.

  4. What an inspiring post Gayle...the colors and prints are subtle and mysterious.

  5. I can see that class paid off! Sounds like you are having fun.

  6. Try rose leaves - nice green color. Also those silver dollar sized eucalyptus leaves that grow close to the stem ( need to buy at a florist) - great orange color.


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