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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dyeing Black: A Happy Accident!

fallen oak leaves
A quiet and unassuming rainstorm tiptoed through this weekend. As we are counting down for the mother of rain seasons that we have been promised here in California, this little teaser at least left us with that fresh smell of leaves and earth that I have been longing for.

natural dye fabric acorns
When I left the house in a hurry on Friday, I forgot to take down my dyed fabric that I had left out to dry. It was a piece of piggy pink cotton gauze that I had soaked in green tea, then left in an iron bath. I was quite pleased with the mild, warm gray that I was left with and when I came back on Monday morning it still looked ok although it had gotten tangled in the branches of the old oak tree. 

natural dye acorn stain

At a closer look I saw that some oak leaves and acorns had gotten stuck on the fabric, and when I brushed them off they had left dark, almost black, stains. I was disappointed at first, but then I had an idea.

acorn and leaves dye bath

I had heard that gall nuts, acorns and even oak leaves can be good dye stuff. I was still surprised with the striking chemical reaction with green tea and iron! I collected some leaves and acorns and boiled them for 20 min or so, then I strained the mixture and dunked the fabric in it. 

Black cotton gauze acorn dye

Lo and behold, this is my fabric after 10 min of soaking!

I will leave my fabric in this concoction over night. Crossing my fingers that the dye will stick...

acorn dye cotton dark grey

After a day of soaking and a couple of baths to rinse off the excess dye, this is the color of the fabric. I will definitely be dyeing with oak and acorns again!

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