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in search of colour

July 24, 2019

the “Bluebird” hardy hibiscus is blooming

I’m excited because I didn’t think there would be any blooms, the deer eat most of the buds in the Spring

one came last night to check it out

guess they don’t eat the flowers – fussy eaters!

the purple hollyhocks self seed easily but each year the colour gets lighter

and finally the blooms are pink

in my experience only the dark purple blossoms give a good dye

this was the original colour when planted in 2012

 I’ll plant fresh ones in the Spring

meanwhile I gather the blossoms when they have finished blooming and dry them

(they still dry a dark purple)

ready for dyeing at the end of Summer

can you see the odd pink one?

I save just the outer rind of pomegranates – they dry easily in the sun – and dye a strong yellow

with an iron modifier a soft olive green

the fruit from the grocery store is not as good this year

it has a thick outer white flesh and less edible seeds – climate change around the world!

I am really sorry to report this but because I posted a review of the book “The Art and Science of Natural Dyes”

I feel the need to add this update

the ring binding has completely come apart from the cover

and if I hadn’t made quick repairs the individual pages would have come away too

yes, I have read different chapters several times and referred to it while dyeing

but it is only 6 weeks old, I handle books carefully and wasn’t it written to be well used?

I laced the ring binding together to prevent the pages from ending up in a loose pile

I think if each page is taken off separately, then the rings carefully threaded through the holes in the paper spine

and the pages, one by one placed back on the wire I’ll have a complete book again

I emailed and received a reply from Catharine Ellis

also emailed the publisher, they offered to replace the book if the original was returned via FedEx

I’ve not had a lot of luck with FedEx in Canada so have chosen to fix it myself

on the bright side the indigo fruit vat is doing remarkably well – better than I had hoped for



4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2019 7:42 pm

    Have you ever used passionfruit skins to dye with? They are sometimes used in cookery to colour a fruit purée a deep rose madder colour, but I don’t know if they’d work on fabric. Worth a try?


    • July 24, 2019 7:59 pm

      Kate – great idea but we don’t have a ready supply of passionfruit in Canada.


      • July 25, 2019 2:56 am

        I have no idea what latitude you’re at, but I used to be able to grow them on a wall in London…


      • July 25, 2019 7:43 am

        Kate – that’s interesting, I’ve never seen or heard of anyone growing them here. I’ll have to investigate.

        Liked by 1 person

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