Monday, May 19, 2014

nettle-dyed moonday

The spring snows we've had this month really delayed things and now it's catch-up time in the garden. We are being richly rewarded for our "suffering" though -- the green-ness is intense, almost blinding -- I hope it foretells a good growing season.

Speaking of, I made up a nettle dye-bundle last week in search of more green. The photos show the progression -- I started with a simple nettle leaf dye-bundle, but was disappointed with the outcome so decided to make a paste with the mushy nettle leaves, working it into the wool. I rolled it back up and will give it another day or so but I have a feeling this is going to do it.

I also boiled nettle leaves to make a dye-bath. Again I was let down so I added some iron water before putting in a piece of unmordanted cotton. The black-as-night dye-bath sat for five days -- I think it's a success, enough to make me go another round with more white wool. It's a good thing I stocked up on white wool.

A few weeks ago when I blanched nettles leaves before freezing them, I spread them out onto a big white towel to squeeze out all the moisture. I thought the green stains would wash out but the towel came out of the dryer full of green blotches. The message here is that dyeing happens when it wants to!

Today is a waning moonday in the sign of Aquarius, the individualist and the reformer. Now is when we like to tweak things and make unique improvements according to the beat of our own little drummer.

In the green. xx


  1. Ah, the elusive green Peggy. I hope you have some success this time.

  2. A few years ago I was determined to get a good green without over dyeing. I tried every plant I could think of, with no luck. I got a few pale shades of green that gradually faded to yellow. When I was on the Navajo reservation a few years ago the Native teacher told me she could get a natural green, I didn't believe her and sure enough she did, plant and her own alum from a cave. The yarn is still a beautiful sage green with no fading! Good luck to you, I'll be watching!

  3. I think nettles are one of nature's best surprises.

  4. I'm sorry you didn't get a good result from nettles. I found a plant at the side of the road last year and I was so excited I used the whole plant to dyed on silk. I thought afterward that why didn't I replanted it! I got beautiful green imprints from the plant. Nice paste you made up - Hugs Nat

  5. I like the fact of unintended results!