This past weekend, I had the opportunity to do a natural dyeing workshop at Stash, run by John from The Mulberry Dyer. I was excited to do some natural dyeing, but also somewhat confused as how that was going to happen in a three hour period. Well, I tell you how it happened:
Extraction dyes. Apparently some clever folks have managed to isolated the dye chemicals from lots of different plants and are selling them as extracts. The benefits include less time investment and much more reproducible colors. John brought along some samples for us to play with. There was cotton,
and some silk ribbon that I didn't get pictures of. All the samples were pre-mordanted with alum, so we got straight to work with the dyes. Painted them on, wrapped everything up in cling film and microwaved for 90 seconds. That was it.
Now, given that all my former reading on natural dyeing had involved several days worth of work, this was a lovely surprise. Another fun surprise was the change in the colors pre- and post-microwave.
John was full of information and historical lore. The Mulberry Dyer does commisions, sells some gorgeous yarns, and also sells the extract dyes and mordants, if anyone is intrigued enough to try them out. Best of all, they will soon be running dyeing workshops in Northern France - I see a family field trip coming on!