Dye Day

Irene M. gave me an old quilt that was sort of beyond repair.  I had the idea of cutting the good bits up, over-dying the squares and using them as foundation for some “quilting”…read embroidery.  I made the mistake of washing the quilt first, which got rid of about half of the squares from disintegration…but enough were left to do something interesting with, I thought.

Q squares 1Qsqaures 2Q squares 3

Kellie is an experienced natural dye user and agreed to not only “help” me out, but to do the dyeing at her house where she has all the right stuff.  We used 4 color baths…onion skins…

onion skins

coffee grounds…


black walnut…

black walnut

and cochineal (insect parts…)


…guess you can probably guess my fave…

cochineal bath

I also dyed some unbleached muslin which had to first go into an alum soak in order to retain the color…

alum soak

…and not only did Kellie show me creative kindness…she also made a great lunch!…


and eventually I rinsed all my squares and fabric, packed them up and headed home…

off home

My THANKS to Kellie for her instruction, extreme generosity and a day of just plain fun.

Now to do something with these things, so I’m sitting on the porch this morning thinking about it…


Wisteria’s in bloom….





  1. Lucky you! I’ve done lots of traditional dyeing (i.e. chemicals), but my natural dyeing’s been limited to ice-flower dyes (using frozen flower petals a’ la India Flint) to get a very light pink blush, and a nasty experiment with mushroom-wrapped fabric (http://fiberexplorations.blogspot.com/2011/10/mushroom-dyeing-once-is-enough.html). I wasn’t even close to getting the beautiful results you achieved! I’ll watch to see how you use these gems.

  2. I cannot wait to see what you come up with. Wonderful to see the natural dying. I have always been interested in trying that and I think I even have some of those ice-flower’s in my freezer. I might have to dig them out.

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