Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Black walnuts
Lately I've been dyeing. And dying too, I suppose. The process and the results are subtle and unpredictable. I'm enjoying it all.

Rough-cutting some cotton sateen and folding it in preparation for black walnut dips.
Lining for a coat.

Black walnut dyeing has become an annual treat for me. Part of the fun is finding the walnuts near my home. They can easily blend in with their surroundings and I'm only beginning to recognize the trees.

If you look closely, you'll see them dangeling from the way-high-up branches. The recent winds and rain from Florida huricanes have caused many of them to drop. It's such fun to suddenly see them.

Pokeberry is instant gratification.

When I don't find the walnuts, I find pokeberries and goldenrod and lichen. I steamed these on a piece of cotton sateen.

I am learning that slow dyeing may have better results. Many things are like that, aren't they? I am soaking my walnuts and then, very gently, simmering them. I haven't tried to save the actual nuts and feel just a tiny bit guilty about it. The color has me transfixed.

Admittedly I did drop this folded piece in with the soaking and then simmering walnuts. This first piece is satisfying. I also dip-dyed some paper and got quick results - a kind of moonscape.

Here is the steamed pokeberry-goldenrod-lichen piece. Slow stitching is next.

Not every piece is rich is saturated color.

eco-print attempt with leaves from the back yard
But there's always overdyeing to be done.

And steeping.

And waiting.


  1. What a patient lady you are. I don't think I have the patience.

  2. What a patient lady you are. I don't think I have the patience.

  3. Your post reminded me of how much I enjoy collecting and using plants to dye fabrics this time of year. I have a black walnut tree in the back yard (be glad you don't) and have dyed with the liquid made from soaking the decomposing black husks. Your folding and dipping technique looks interesting. This year I want to try making thickened black walnut ink and using it to 'write' on fabric. Collecting and using goldenrod flowers to dye mordented silk and wool bright yellow is something else I do in the fall. I love walking in the meadow type areas under the power lines where it grows. I see so many other interesting plants I want to experiment with.

  4. Hi, Martha. such gorgeous dyeing results...I have to force myself to not think about dyeing at all--there are so many possibilities, sigh. Just trying to stay focused and finish things. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. It is much appreciated. And your featured clothing is always so beautiful and precise. I'm quite envious! Have a great autumn! best, nadia