Dyeing Natural Mauve Tones



Nature’s abundant “leftovers” often invite me to experiment. After harvest in our very small Pinot Noir vineyard, I got all the rejects, seconds, etc and created a cold dye bath. Mostly, I used unmordanted fibers. In the image above, you see the two silk squares that were premordanted with alum.


I like to explore how the dye is taken up by different fibers. Silk created beautiful Mauve tones.


Here you can compare the fine silk thread plied together with the thicker cotton. The silk is a little more intense.


Wool turned a soft brown. By itself, I found it slightly disappointing.


Wool plied together with cotton and silk created an interesting mix of mauve tones.


From my stack of previous dye experiments, I took golden tones (from old Eucalyptus leaves) and overdyed them: interesting results, aren’t they?


Dipping silk into soda ash: the color changed very quickly from more violet to gray.


Used the grape-dyed red silk as a background for this abstract hand-stitched painting.


Barely done with the red grapes, when our Japanese Satsuma Plum tree was ready to share its bounty: almost a hundred jars of preserves. Once again I could resist the invitation of the left-overs. This time the dye bath was hot. (Our outdoor grill has a side burner.)


The Japanese plums also gave mauve tones. There was only one surprise in the image below: what I had bought as mohair must be largely polyester because it didn’t take the color.


This image shows three silks on the left, cotton cheese cloth on top, and unspun wool on the right.


All-in-all they were very enjoyable experiments.

And thanks for reading all the way to the end!

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