I have been doing some natural dying this summer – and enjoying the results. I dyed some garments I made with marigolds from my garden, and got a rich, bright yellow. Then I made an iron bath (vinegar and rusty nails) and dipped the dyed cloth in that. You can see the results in the last picture above. It turned it a bit darker and slightly olive. But, I did not think the contrast great enough for what I wanted, and I over-dyed the iron/marigold garment in a quick walnut dye bath. And, that’s where I went wrong. Either the mordant did not work anymore, or the iron made the shirt take up dyes differently, but I ended up with a dark brown-ish overall color with lots of spots of very dark brown or slightly light yellow. It would have been ok, except the dark brown spots looked like I dripped oil on it (and they were right in the front). Nice contrast with the marigold yellow, but ugh! those spots!! I did another shirt with red onion skins from Flying Cloud Farm, and got a little closer to the color I wanted.
I also dyed a bit of wool yarn to see what the results would be. I loved the color and later dyed the same type of yarn with onion skins. Interestingly,the color was really similar. It seems quite easy to get some kind of yellow (or brown) color with natural dying with the things I can find around here, but I’d like to get some other colors too!
I’ll keep trying – I am enjoying the process.