frenchtown fiber

Chris Mundy and Kate House try to make art while navigating the crap life throws at them.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Natural Dyeing: Not Gonna Happen

I picked up the book about Natural Plant Dyeing from the Library. Guess I won't be doing any of that. I once saw a video demonstration of someone dyeing cloth with onion skins. Looked easy and fun. Get yourself a big bowl of onion skins and boil some cloth with it. Bing! you are done. Interesting color. This book is maybe a bit more serious. One recipe calls for a peck of butternut hulls. Where am I getting a peck of butternut hulls? What is a peck anyway? A lot, right? All this to come out with tan fabric?

I just looked up "peck." A peck = 8 quarts and 4 pecks = a bushel. I thought several bushels = a peck, but that is wrong. So it isn't as many butternut hulls as I had first imagined. Still, it's plenty. And where does one get butternuts? There were some recipes with less exotic ingredients. Such as tulip tree leaves. I know where there are tulip trees right in town. But the dye doesn't work on cotton. Coffee doesn't work either. Of course you and I know that coffee definitely changes the color of cotton. My husband immediately pointed out that he has had more than one cotton shirt permanently dyed with coffee stains. But they say it doesn't work. Maybe they are looking for some kind of permanent non-blotchy standard?Most of the dyes in this book only worked on wool and silk.

I have an idea for a natural dye. Spaghetti sauce. Or wine. I should try it

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