Archive | April, 2015

20,000 & counting 

21 Apr

It snuck up on me but my blog has now had over 20,000 visiters since August 2011. Even if you count half of the visitors as spambots I am happy with at least 10,000 folks interested in natural dyes. So, thank you for sharing the color journey!

To stay on the natural dye track here’s some shots of my indigo garden prep. One bed for the Japanese Indigo, the second for   Indigofera suffruticosa.

The sprouts strengthen  And the beds are prepped! This is last year’s Indigofera suffruticosa with some new growth. And the sheltered Japanese Indigo bed is ready for its seedlings.  I am also going to direct sow some seed to see if that works better.  Seeds are scarce so one wants to figure out the most efficient path.

Don’t let mold keep you from your color!

16 Apr

Upon occasion holding temps outside hit a range when mold will grow. My batch of 6 year first rinse developed a nice mold coating over the past week before I could get to it.Of course you can strain or float the mold head so you can pour off the dyestock. Below I am pouring off and floating the mold. You can pull it off with a rag or let a filter capture it. Purely personal choice…..and your yuck tolerance level.

The color on the right below is what the 6 year madder 1st rinse that had the mold growth yielded on my wool. The middle skein is a disappointment, more on that substratein another entry. The white skein on the left was just added. All three are going back into the 6 year exhaust pot to see what color shows up. 

Besides the disappointing yarn, I have some tannin silks to show, here’s a preview of the colors that were overdyed. What do you think madder root did to these colors?  

Prepping  indigo seeds while madder silk soaks

8 Apr

While the silk sun soaks in the 6 year madder root I am prepping my indigo seedings.  

One fends off crickets and raccoons early on in the season with seedlings so I am trying a safe start on Harley’s sun porch. We’ll see how that works out. 

I am prepping indigofera suffruticosa seeds, second generation from Donna Hardy’s South Carolina seeds.

Some of the plants left out in the terrace garden to overwinter are even putting out new growth. I have hopes that if they are protected from the north winter winds I can get them do their perennial thing.


In addition, I am prepping Japanese Indigo or polygonum tinctorium seeds. These come from John Marshall and I am grateful to have them. I had total crop failure last year due to an irrigation dripline failing me mid-season in May. Due to family illness & death I could not save the plants so I’ll start a new seedbank this year. Not to mention a blue color source. John had written a nice indigo overview about the different indigo sprcies here:

And for guilds, he has written a nice guild to dyeing with Japanese Indigo, info here….

I’ll finish with a intriguing yucca madder test piece. As I “walk” my cat here in the Texas Hill Country I’ve been scraping yucca to see if it can be separated for thread.  I had a piece handy and tossed it into a madder exhaust bath and it picked up the color beautifully….


Not sure what direction this will go but it is percolating…. 

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