Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Natural dyes in my own backyard

Well, I've been looking for natural dyes that would have been used during the Civil War, especially those used in the South, since due to the blockade and poverty getting dyestuffs from elsewhere would have been difficult if not impossible... In addition, natural dyes would have been used all over in any time period, no doubt, in any area that was economically depressed for any length of time or remote enough to make trade for luxuries difficult. Plus, natural dyes are free when I can find them in my yard. Always a good thing!

I have found that I've got a ton of plants used for natural dyes in my own backyard: pokeweed, red cedar, marigolds, dandelions, lichen, oak, roses, mint, grass, and nettle. That just what I know is in the yard right now without actually looking. Could very well be that there's more. Down the street, there's a willow tree, and I might just have to go ask our neighbors if I can have a branch and start one of my own after it goes dormant this next winter. Willow is a very useful plant... Not only will the leaves and bark dye wool and natural textiles green and yellow, but the bark is also medicinal. And I could plant some onions and beets and use those for dye as well. And I won't likely be allergic to all or most of these things. I love natural dyes...


sophronia_ said...

smart girl!! this is wonderful. remind me to show you my book "the weaver's garden" next time you are up. you will fall in love. all of your plants mentioned would make excellent dyes. i also need to show you the yarns i dyed when i went to conner prairie in indiana. wonderful stuff.

love, s.

Rachael said...

Thank you! :D I thought so... Yes, please do show me that book and the yarns. I'll try to remember.