Category Archives: Eco Colour India Flint

Eco Dying Part Two

I have often wondered how the ancients got their wonderful colours, now I think I may have a small insight to some of their techniques. Some of you may have read one of my previous posts on Eco Dying, posted in May this year. I had been fascinated by India Flint’s book on Eco Dying for a while now and find her experiments intriguing.

I have been experimenting with more juicy fading flowers, this time Hemerocallis Bela Lugosi. Again just as with the iris in the other post, I was finding that as I dead headed them I was getting covered in juice that stained my fingers. So I started collecting them and steeping them in rain water.

hem bela lugosi


After a couple of weeks I had enough to try my first batch. This was boiled and then strained ready for the first mordent fabric…again I was amazed at what happened….

dye 1


Faded juicy flowers boiled in rain water.

Far from being what I thought might be reds and oranges, I got a gorgeous shade of purple. I tried plain natural cotton, calico and silk.For the silk I thought I would harp back to the sixties and do a bit of tie dying, so I tied some small stones in at intervals all over a large piece. This also went in the pot… to my surprise this came out a lovely shade of Dove Grey with a hint of purple and the stone resist worked too.

dye 2


Dye vat with fabric turned purple.


Finished dried and ironed.

dye 4

Tie dyed with stones …Silk

Lastly I did a cold bundle. This is done by wetting a piece of mordant fabric slightly, then laying the juicy fading flowers on, either in a pattern or randomly all over it. This was rolled up tightly and twisted for more effect, tied up with strong twine and hung to dry. Here you are hoping the flowers are squashed enough to yield some colour. And boy did it…..



Cold bundled cotton fabric.

With all these pieces of fabric I need to think of interesting ways of using them, still thinking of book covers but maybe some small purses or makeup bags, what do you think… ?  Sue.



Filed under Eco Colour India Flint, Eco plant Dying, Hemerocallis

Who’d Have Thought….

Don’t you just love a surprise ?

We have recently had a spell of heavy rain, just as the dark iris were in full swing.

Unknown allotment

They ended up getting soggier by the day and dripping with dark juice.

I have recently been reading ‘Eco Colour by India Flint ‘. It’s a fascinating book, India has been using native plants from around her Australian countryside to explore the process of natural dye stuffs with some amazing results.

eco book

So I was wondering, as you do, what could I do with all this lovely looking dye. I’d already had a go at cold bundling various types of plant stuff into pre-mordanted damp fabric and had a good reaction. This process meant wrapping and twisting layers of damp fabric and plant material together then tying it up tight. Water was sprayed on to it  regularly to keep it moist. After leaving for a few days it was unwrapped and dried away from sunlight. The picture doesn’t really do the colour justice as they are more intense than this.

plant dye samples

These were all done on natural fabrics, cotton, silk and muslin. But the lure of these soggy iris blooms was too much. After collecting and leaving said soggyness in a Kilner jar for a few days I ended up with a jar of what looked like brown beer brewing, rain water was added to this and all went into a large old disused jam pan, I was then able to dye a bigger load, again all natural fabrics, pre mordanted in Alum solution. Well imagine my surprise when the fabric hit the liquid it turned all shades of blue. I kept all this together in the shady part of my greenhouse under the staging for about a week, just about all the liquid had soaked in and evaporated to leave lots of lovely staining and dark marks where some of the soggy blooms had been laying.

I’m thinking of using the fabric to cover some books I have in mind to make. So now I’m looking at all other plants to see if they have any potential for the same process…watch this space. Sue


Filed under Eco Colour India Flint, Eco plant Dying