Monday, July 20, 2015

Dyeing with Horsetail

Dyeing with plants is more time consuming and less predictable than dyeing with acid dyes.
 Why do I continue to do it?

There is something intriguing about foraging for a plant on our property, I would normally not give a second thought to and creating something useful with it.

My latest dye experiment was with a plant called Horsetail. I noticed a large patch growing along the corner of one of our fields. I had never noticed Horsetail growing on our property before, funny how much more aware we become of our surroundings when we go into forage mode.

The ratio of plant to wool was 5 to 1. We picked more than enough, without even making a dent in the Horsetail patch.

Extracting the Dye

When I started this project, I was hoping for a pale pink....

I ended up with a shade of green. I guess soil conditions and time of harvesting can affect the color you end up with. Maybe next time...

On a side note-

Horsetail is used in folk medicine to treat urinary and bladder conditions and for healing wounds.

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  1. Love experimenting with what we find at hand on our own acres. I did wild-crafting yesterday too. Made a basket from cattail leaves. It is very rustic, but I had fun learning about how the plant fibers respond to bending, twisting, etc. Had a lot of horsetail at a previous residence, but never thought to do anything with it. Now, the beets I canned yesterday would have given you a nice pink! Lol

    1. I have not tried basket making, but would love to try that sometime. I love rustic :)
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Sandra, I'm loving the color you got from the horsetail dyebath. Natural is always better (to me anyway) than other dyes. A few years ago I was gifted a lovely natural dyeing book that I just love, and there are a few little known secrets about mordants that I've not seen in print anywhere else that help with colorfastness, etc. You can have a look inside here:
    Loved the post! Have a great day!

    1. I have that book, it is the one I used for this dye project. I love it :)

  3. I love this color, it's very natural and I had no idea you could color dye with horsetail. I really need to learn to do some fun things with my sheep fiber, just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Carole @ Garden Up Green

    1. For years I just sold the wool-I am just now getting around to using it myself.

  4. It is fun to hear about your experiments, Sandra. From looking at the plant in your pictures, I wouldn't have expected a pink color. Very interesting, thanks!


    1. Thank you! I have seen the pale pink, very pretty. I found it surprising As well.

  5. I love reading posts like these, it's so neat to see what all you can use to dye things. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

  6. Fascinating! You have taught me something new today.


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