The Mad Scientist, Episode 3

Organic plant dyes are not predictable.That’s what makes them interesting. In experiment 1 and 2, we got some blues /purples, a very pretty yellow and lots of brown – apparently nature’s favorite colour. This time I was looking for red and green.

imageI was hoping to get red from pincherries – a pretty, little red wild berry.
Pincherries make excellent jelly if you can find enough to give you at least 6 cups of juice. I only had 3 cups. Not enough for jelly, and barely enough for this experiment.

I divided the juice into 3 one cup portions. The first was left without additive. I added lemon to the second and iron mordant to the third. My expectation was that the one with lemon would be a lighter red (maybe even pink) and the one with iron would be darker. Here is the result. Pretty, but not much of a difference.pincherry

If you remember in my last mad scientist experiment, I used Hosta leaves in hopes of getting a green dye. That didn’t happen. What happened was that the Hosta leaves turned brown just like they naturally would at the end of a growing season. It made me wonder…

juniper plantWould a plant that does not die over winter, such as an evergreen produce a green dye? To test this theory, I used juniper needles. Another interesting smelling kitchen – just a little too early in the morning for the strong gin smell!

This time I divided the liquid into 2 batches; one with iron mordant and one without. The change was instant. But not very green. The juniper with iron is the closest – almost grey/green. Unfortunately, it was the batch that had the least fabric!juniper

imageStill searching for green, I found green tea leaves in a kitchen drawer.
Not being fond of green tea, it wasn’t much of a sacrifice to use for the experiment.green tea

It looks like my search for green will continue. The reference material says Fennel, Olive leaves or Fig leaves make excellent dye sources for yellows and green -not like we have any of those available. It also says red cabbage is fun to experiment with so my next question is: if red cabbage is a good dye source (for blues and lavenders), will green cabbage produce a green dye? It just might be worth a try.

Have a great week. Look around and tell me what natural plants might produce a green dye.

 

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About Judy's Quilting Studio

Creator of all things quilted; minimalist in everything except fabric!
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8 Responses to The Mad Scientist, Episode 3

  1. Laurel says:

    I LOVE reading about your experimentation, Judy. Have you tried any of the items on: http://pioneerthinking.com/crafts/natural-dyes/? I have maybe a third of these in my yard.

  2. Donna Hartle says:

    Loving your experiments 🙂

  3. Kate says:

    We get purple carrots at the Farmer’s Market. I know they turn the cooking water purple, I wonder if they would make a good dye.

  4. Sheryl says:

    It’s fun to read about your dye experiments. Since so much of nature is green, I was really surprised to learn that it is difficult to find plants which will make a green dye.

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