When I first stepped into the world of natural dyes, I kept no records I just winged it. I have really learned from my mistakes. As I embark on a new batch of dyeing so thought I should go back and look at my natural dye records – good and bad – to see what they could tell me.
It was in 2013 that my youngest daughter gave me Jenny Deans book on natural dyeing. This book became slowly my bible. In May of 2014, I was attracted by a huge mass of blooming dandelions and thought that maybe that would make some lovely dye stuff. Let’s try it!
Armed with Jenny’s book of recipes I set off to dye some silks and cotton fabric. I never gave a thought to keeping some natural dye records. Not one thought. In fact in 2015 one year later I wrote, against a small sample of this first dyeing.
- no mordants
- June 2014
- No washing
- No records.
Which I guess is actually a natural dye record although a very poor one.
What a lot I had to learn. !
Natural dye records: My First step
I wrote everything I could think if down on a piece of paper about the process.
A good strategy? Well not really.
As in the heat of the moment, I forget things. The other problem with this technique is how to keep the samples that relate to the natural dye record.
I tried the following:
But they took a lot of time to make, and honestly, there is not much difference between the samples.
So I was wasting my time.
Natural dye records: a crib sheet
I made myself a crib sheet. This was a huge improvement. Still hard to get myself to fill it in and actually, some of the boxes were too big and some too small. But I kept trying. Keeping the samples was easier as you can put the Dye record sheet in a plastic wallet with all the samples.
All in one place, not too bulky and very easy to refer back too.
Natural dye records: a proforma.
Everything can be improved and my crib sheet is no exception. So I have revised it trying to learn from my use over the last few years and turned it into A natural dye record proforma. Easy to use and contains everything I think you need to know.
Here it is if you would like to use it.Get your free download of my Natural Dye Record Proforma here
I am certainly looking forward to putting it to good use in the forthcoming months. I have used it this week, dyeing samples of my mordanted fabrics to check for problems before I dye larger quantities.
Beautiful orange colours and as always different colours on different silks.
- Categories: British wool fibres, Eco Dyeing, Natural dyeing, Wet felting •
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- by jane_mercer
My original all in one natural dye process
My other reason to change
I inadvertently developed two felting methods. One method for pieces that I planned to be naturally dyed and one for pieces made with pre-dyed materials. The felt method I prefer to use is the one I used with the pre-dyed materials. But I really want to make more pieces that use natural dye.
A bit of a dilemma.
My new embryonic natural dye method