It’s May : Harvesting time for natural dye materials 

Suddenly the weather in the North East of England has got sunny and reasonably warm. Of course, it is not forecast to last long! One of the challenges of making naturally dyed felt art is to keep sufficient stock of your natural dye materials. So while the sun is shining and the sap is rising I need to get out and harvest supplies of natural dye materials to store for the rest of the year.

Nettles

Abundantly available and easy to pick with some sharp scissors and some good gardening gloves. I am now drying my harvest, to use later.  I have not dried nettles before so it will be interesting to see how the colour is affected by the drying process.

Dock

One of my favourites. as it dyes silk such a wonderful olive colour.

 

 

I have used dock successfully as a dried natural dye material and so out in the sun is another batch of dock leaves being dried.

Comfrey

Last weekend I sat reading my herb encyclopaedia trying to work out what the furry leaved plant was in my herb garden. Today a short walk from my house I was picking comfrey and it suddenly came to me! The plant I could not recognise in my garden was comfrey.  How weird that I could recognise it in the hedgerow but not in my own back garden. The good news is that it gives me, even more, material to harvest.

I have dried some and also used some in a new dye bath.

Hawthorn blossom

Flowering in profusion on the south and west facing bushes.  I have use hawthorn blossom as a fresh natural dye material before but I have never dried the flowers.  Here it is drying on my studio floor.

Hawthorn blossom

Weld and wold

On a slightly longer time horizon for harvesting, I have planted some seeds that I bought from Susan Dye of naturesrainbow. All germinated and growing well.

 

Marigold

I have had got some lovely yellows and greens from last years marigold harvest. Here are this year plants slowly being hardened off.

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So for me, May is a busy month for natural dye materials, both for harvesting and planting.

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