Wednesday, August 19, 2009


One of life's great joys is an armsfull of possibilities before it gets tainted by such realities as lack of skill or dedication. It is plain pure pleasure. I'm dreaming up beauty yet to manifest itself.

Today the postie brought India Flint's gorgeous book: Eco colour - botanical dyes for beautiful textiles.

Just recovering from a cold, I woke up all sweaty when the phone rang. Fighting off the duvet, I rushed to find the phone in the kitchen, where some kind soul had left the book parcel. I really had had enough sleep anyway, promise.


Not enough with this: I have been wondering about the availability of woad seeds in NZ, so finally I googled woad+seeds in NZ. Lo and behold, a lady sells organically grown seeds for medicinal herbs and dye plants just down the road! She operates through TradeMe, but my intention is to go and pick up the seeds to see her garden and have a chat.

My shopping list includes:

Woad - Isatis tinctoria - blue dye

Extracting the blue dye sounds a bit tricky, but I can't resist the challenge. This project might take a couple of years.

Hopi Amaranth - Amaranthus cruentus
x powellii - red dye

Dyer's Chamomile - Anthemis tinctoria - yellow dye

Goldenrod - Solidago canadensis - yellow

I love Goldenrod, it still grows in my mum's garden and seems to go up in flames every autumn.

Weld - Reseda luteola or Dyers mignonette

How irresistible does this sound: "produces an outstanding primary yellow dye on all protein fibers and cotton. This yellow is clear and intense, the yellow that all other yellows are judged against. The substance responsible for producing this color is luteolin and is present in all the green parts of the plant. Compared to other plant sources for yellow available to the home dyer, weld is very concentrated. Six or seven weld rosettes or two weld plants in bloom will dye a pound of wool an intense primary yellow color."

Go flu, leave my body now, I've got a garden to prepare!
Spring is here!!

1 comment:

  1. you can get a lovely turquoise blue using fresh woad leaves, as we did in Belgium a couple of months ago
    take fresh leaves and [keeping them underwater] crush them carefully by hand, trying not to introduce air bubbles

    when the water becomes quite green
    immerse your pre-wetted cloth
    leave about 20 minutes before pulling out

    watch it become blue. redip for deeper colours...


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