Natural Dye Days

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For a while now I have been wanting to experiment with some natural dyeing methods. Being that I am such a fan of Ulex Europaeus I figured that here would be a good place to start. 

I had bought some simple pure white muslin a few weeks ago with the sole purpose of brightening up a few of the windows here in chez baile mheiriceá - I had visions of subtle hues of yellow muslin floating on the summer breeze! 

Here is how my vision took shape:

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This was my first attempt, (probably since school) of dyeing something using natural materials. I decided that I would just try it out based on what I knew about dyeing and see how I got on.

For a first effort I was quite pleased with my attempt, the finished outcome wasn't as 'yellow' as I had expected but I am happy with the subtle colour that it took - A shade that would never be possible using synthetic dye's.

I am speculating that it wasn't as yellow as I had expected for a number of reasons: My fixer and the actual flowers themselves (they weren't fresh that day, but had been sitting in my basket patiently for a few days!

I am going to keep experimenting with different methods and process' and will keep you in the loop, but for now: Process number one.

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Process No. 1 

  • I tied the gorse in a piece of muslin to avoid it snagging the material
  • I prepared the material for dyeing with a salt fixer - I simmered the fabric in about half a cup of salt for approximately half an hour
  • The fabric was then placed into a LARGE saucepan with the packaged gorse
  • Pour hot water over the two, making sure that there is enough to cover your fabric and allow for enough room so that everything can be stirred freely
  • Simmer and stir occasionally for approximately 45mins
  • When you are happy with the colour, hang out to dry. 
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If you happen to be an expert regarding natural dyeing techniques or could offer advice/tips - Please feel free to do so... And remember you could always enjoy your efforts and hard dyeing work with a 'Mellow Yellow'!

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