dye group 1

Our new dye group had its inaugural meet on Sunday! Lots of excitement, enthusiasm and questions, some good ideas and knowledge and a little bit of chaos.

Preparing yarn for the pots

Three pots of eucalypt leaves and bark that had been stewing away for the best part of a week and one impromptu pot of mint basil- or basil mint?!

Eucalyptus cinerea

Eucalypts seemed like a good choice for our first meet, as a couple of windfalls had provided a good amount of leaves and we didn’t have to premordant any fibres for the day. Our Eucalyptus cinerea bath yielded some good oranges and rusts- though not the reds that I was hoping for so I am going to add some more leaves to the bath and try again…

Eucalyptus cinerea on various wools and wool/ bamboo blend

while the sideroxylon leaves, which should give orange to red, came out gold to pale olive…

Eucalyptus sideroxylon leaves (left) and mint basil (right)

and the sideroxylon bark, which I had soaked and heated several times over a two-week period until the bath was almost black, resulted in a surprisingly pale cocoa.

Eucalyptus sideroxylon bark

Some say that you can never really know what you’re going to get when dyeing with natural materials… others disagree. I guess I am falling somewhere in the middle at this point, as the variables of seasonality, rainfall and location seem to have a huge bearing on the colours you can get from eucalypts and other plants. I’d say I’m open to the magic and the intuitive side of the dyeing process but I’d also like to know my species and how to maximize colour extraction well enough to estimate what results I might get ; )

Eucalypts and basil mint

Rather than building a massive collection of tiny samples of colour, I’m skeining up the 2kg of Grafton- which sadly doesn’t seem to take up as much dye as other yarns ; ( – that I got in the Yarn Workshop sell-out into 50gm lots. That way, despite the possibility of ending up with a whole lot of different colours, I can turn the results of our experiments into some cushions and blankets- the last thing I need is more single balls of yarn to find uses for! Thanks, everyone!

3 thoughts on “dye group 1

  1. balanda

    Eukys are so unpredictable? Had there been a lot of rain or cold recently? (Less colour for me.) And were the leaves fresh? (Better colour for me.) I did some winter dyeing with wool in Melb recently, cinerea was orange not summer crimson, sideroxylon was beige not summer orange-red.


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