Tree barks and leaves

Last month after a storm I collected a chestnut and a walnut branch that were blown down.  The barks have been soaking since then.  Yesterday I brought in the small hickory tree.  I removed parts I need for basketry, some pieces that will be a Navaho loom, and of course leaves and bark for dying. 

The hickory leaves and chestnut bark cooked while I worked on the rest of the tree. 

After dying one skein each of wool pre-mordanted with alum, in these two dyebaths, I decided to used the green hickory bark for another bath.  Hickory bark when aged and browned will give a nice rich brown, but I had not tried it green before.  It resulted in a very similar shade to the leaves.  From left to right:  Chestnut bark, hickory leaves, hickory bark.


Posted on Sat, 07/10/2010 - 23:17

My next door neighbor is logging.  Today being Saturday and the loggers not working, I took my helper and went to see what I would find.

What I found was both bark and leaves of the following:  Sassafras, wild black cherry, red maple, tulip poplar, rhododendron, holly, autumn olive.  Gruetli (pronounced greetly), willingly pulled the cartload of treasure back to the house, where I put it on the roof to dry.  Some will need to be used right away, while some can be dried for later use when I'm not so busy.

I have used all of these before except for the holly and autumn olive.  I checked online to see what I could find.  Nothing on the holly.  According to one site, autumn olive, an introduced invasive species, was originally brought to the colonies as a textile dye plant.  Nothing on what color it might yield, so I will be experimenting with these.  Does anyone have any experience with either?

Posted on Sun, 07/11/2010 - 02:22

wow, nice collection of woods to experiment with, lucky you!  I love the hauling helper!  Can't wait to see the colors obtained with those leaves.  I am still working on how to id trees.  I'm impressed you can tell all the leaves after the trees themselves have left the building! 

Posted on Sun, 07/11/2010 - 14:35

The tree id is the simple part for me.  It's a cultural and environmental thing.  When I was a small child we had to know several species of trees before we even started school.  Not just to identify them, but in the course of everyday life, like:  "Run up to the woodshed and bring me a few sticks of that locust (or hickory)" or "Go fetch me some poplar (or sassafras, or soft maple) or "Go cut a hickory switch."  and many other such directives.  We were expected to be able to do it unassisted, and we were well instructed in the different properties of each wood.  And I live in the center of the most diverse forest on the planet.  There are more species of trees in my backyard than in all of Europe!  However, using plants for dying was limited to a very small number of plants.

Posted on Sun, 07/11/2010 - 18:28

The colour from the chestnut is amazing!  What percentage do you use for the alum mordant?  Do you use cream of tartar as well? 

I see in Wild  Colour by Jenny Dean that she used to use the mixture and on her website that she is now using just a slightly higher percentage of alum with no cream of tartar. 

There is birch on my property and one has come down in a wind so I will collect some of that bark.  Does it have to be used fresh to get the red tones?


Posted on Sun, 07/11/2010 - 21:18

Thanks.  The yarn had been pre-mordanted some time ago, but my usual rule of thumb is to use 1 1/2 Tbs. of alum for each 4 oz. skein that I'm mordanting.  Yes I did use cream of tartar, only one tsp. added to the dye pot, and 1/4 c. salt.  The bark, along with the leaves from the branch had been sitting in a bucket of water from my spring, since just after the storm in mid-June.  When the innner bark of a tree is exposed to the air it will begin to develop color and darken, and when it sits and ferments the color will develop even more.  If you cook it up right away you won't get as much color.  As least this has been my experience.

The most color is obtained from bark on the main trunk of the tree.  Twigs and small stems don't give as much.  I don't know what kind of birch you have, but the two I have used in the past are Black birch, also called sweet birch, and yellow birch, also called river birch.  I've never dyed with white birch.  If you add some leaves of the black birch to the pot of bark that you're soaking, you can get a very dark, almost black color.  The yellow birch I've done was a much lighter yellow brown.  Both black and yellow birch smell like wintergreen.

Among the stuff I collected yesterday was a large piece of quite rotten red maple bark.  (The pieces shown on the roof at the lower far right.  Since I thought it seemed ready to go, I soaked it overnight and cooked it up this morning.  I got a medium brown that doesn't have the purplish color I usually get from maple bark.  I'll post a picture for you tomorrow.  The other barks I collected, are now sitting in containers of water outside.  These need to have lids to keep mosquito larvae out!  I cooked up the sassafras, rhododendron, and holly leaves.  I always throw in a small bit of yarn when I'm cooking to see what is happening.  Sassafras looks like a brownish lt. green, rhododendron is looking neon yellow, and the holly leaves aren't looking very promising.  I'm going to let it sit for a few days and see what happens.

Just a thought:  I've always wondered if the purples from maple bark are actually from the lichens that are often covering the lower trunk of the trees.

Posted on Sun, 07/11/2010 - 23:42

The birch here is white birch i think,  so no doubt the lighter range of colour.

Lots of maple around here so I will be giving that a try.  Interesting observation about the lichens, I guess you would have to scrape it off or find some without to do a test.

I also have a Burr Oak ( white oak family)  in the back yard and it needs a couple of large lower branches cut off so will be able to try both leaves and bark.    I see a few different colours can be had with and without mordant.  

Are you using cream of tartar from a grocery or a chemist's supply?

I am looking forward to trying this - might run out of undyed yarn before i am done!  Do you ever overdye natural gray wool?


Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 01:46

I found one source that said white birch would give brown.  It didn't state light or dark.  Any oak will produce dye.  My common local ones are white oak, red oak, and chestnut oak.  I use the cream of tartar from the grocery store. I have over-dyed gray wool.  It's more interesting if your gray is mostly light with some darker streaks.  I don't do this much.  Do you spin?  Sometimes I like to ply two different yarns together and then dye them.  Just watch out for the fibers that won't take the dye.  You could also ply wool of two different colors and then dye.

Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 01:59

Overdying natural gray will give you another range of colors, you have to be careful because the gray will push some of your yellows to a green, sometimes not a happy push.

Cream of Tartar is an acid so it definitely affects your color.  If you mordant with Alum Sulfate with CT and some without CT but still with Alum Sulfate you will see the difference in color shifts on some dyestuff.  I assume you are using CT to soften your yarn, if you cut back on the amount of alum sulfate you use you don't HAVE to add the CT and you can get a different range of colors.  Deb Mc 

Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 02:35

I was thinking that overdyeing gray wool into browns  and it might be a good way to get some darker colours in the brown range.   And I have some on hand so will do some trials.

The reason I ask about the cream of tartar is that I understand from my reading that the food grade is slightly different?  Maybe it makes only a slight difference, but the price might also be better from a chemist or dye source.  Terrible price here for tiny boxes. 

Plying two yarns would be a great project especially nice for use in a tapestry.   So many things to try and I am just at the beginning.  I see you both are very experienced - thank you for sharing.  I find I can read so much, then must try and it is such a help to get some feedback.



Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 03:26

 hey, we all learn from someone who shares information!  Two teachers that I have had have recommended using Alum Sulfate at two different levels:

Liesel Orend recommends 7% WOF, 100 grams of fiber needs 7 grams of alum sulfate

Michelle Whiplinger recommends 7 - 12 % WOF

I bounce between 7 - 10% WOF and haven't seen a big difference.

Definitely overdyeing gives you a great range of colors.  

I do keep a folder somewhere near my dyepot so I can toss critical notes on weights or process changes so IF I EVER want to get close to the same color I have an idea of what direction to start.  


Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 14:39

I do overdying of other colors a lot.  My brain didn't click when the question was about overdying natural gray specifically.  Probably a lot of what I do this year will be overdyed next year.  I'm working on a tapestry "of place", so much of what I'm doing now I will only need a tiny bit of.  If I don't find another use for them, I'll toss them back in the pot for something else.  Anyway, here's the rotten maple bark, much different that my previous experiences with maple bark, and I'm thinking of taking half the skein and overdying it later when my fresh maple bark cooks, or maybe just add iron.

Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 15:35

And to complicate things even more, I just spoke to my friend Marion, who is a botanist, herbalist, and avid natural dyer, to ask her about the autumn olive.  She said that most tree barks will cold dye without any mordant.  Just put the yarn in  with the bark and leave it for several weeks.  So now I've added a skein of yarn to each of my bark buckets.  Oh dear, containers.....containers.

Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 16:29

 that's because most of them have some sort of tannin in them, some more than others, tannin is a natural mordant

MARK your containers, I always walk away from a bucket or skein KNOWING I will remember what is in there.  I am now at the age that I can remember when I used to be able to remember more AND I would have remembered more if I knew that I would not remember as much now!

Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 17:00

Ditto, and my plastic containers have all been labelled with a permanent marker!  Same for the completed yarns, I staple on a paper label.

Posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 23:03

I don't know autumn olive - have looked it up, but don't recognize it so it might not grow here.

The maple bark colour is quite dark and much more yellow green (on this monitor) than I thought it would be.  Interesting.  I need more buckets with lidds!

I understand one doesn't need mordant with the bark dyes?  Or do you do both for a range of colour?

have begun reading you weblog Deb - there is a lot of information to soak up.





Posted on Tue, 07/13/2010 - 01:02

First I'll try to answer your questions, then I'll report on my VERY busy day.  If you don't know autumn olive you are lucky.  It's an extremely invasive plant that was introduced originally as a dye plant.  If you have buckets without lids use plastic garbage bags.  The bark colors with and without will be different.  Since you seem to be aiming for dark colors, you could always do the cold dye, and then if you want to later you can mordant and cook it.  You'll get a darker color than either method used alone.  And now I'll have to find Deb's blog!

Okay, my day:  After adding skeins of yarn to existing containers of bark, I located more containers and put more stuff to soak:  hemlock from the front yard, the autumn olive which had still been waiting, and I found these branches under the black walnut tree which were covered with lichens.  It wouldn't separate from the bark very well, so being black walnut it will definitely not be a lichen test.

I cooked up the sassafras and got a greeny yellow slightly different than the hickory leaves, but not much.  The smell as it cooked made me want to make some gumbo, dried sassafras leaves are file powder used in making gumbo.  I had to order some alum, since I'm out of both alum and pre-mordanted yarn.  I cooked up the autumn olive leaves and the color flowed quickly and richly - and it is olive (duh!).  It looks light in the picture but was only in the pot for a few minutes, and really is darker.  Cooking it should turn out looking like an army uniform.

While the pots cooked I whittled some tapestry bobbins, picks, etc. from the holly, which is great for that, though the color is quite plain.  They're only rough-cut now, I'll have to finish them up in the winter when the wood is drier.  My helper and I went back to the clearing to get a larger chunk of holly.  When there I saw a chestnut oak that I had missed saturday and got a couple of small pieces.  This will be both dye and part of my loom.  I picked up some poplar that had been cut this morning before the rain, and got a piece to make a basket.  I'm going blueberry picking on Thurs. so I made a small new berry basket and did the parts of the other basket that I had to get done before the bark dries.  When looking on the net last night I saw that someone in Norway was using spruce cones to dye with.  Two large Norway spruce in the yard, cones that have to be picked up frequently - another container found.

The large poplar bark container in the middle is the one being worked on above.  The one with the inkle strap is the berry basket.  The two on the left I made last month from a spruce branch which I needed to prune.  The two on the right are red maple, also made last month (from the peeled bark from my tomato stakes).  Bobbins etc. on the lower left.  I took this picture to show how light the spruce was in comparison to the other, but it's darker in the photo.  On lower left is a piece of poplar bark I began to peel on Sat. but stopped because it wasn't coming off.  The darkened stripe is how much it darkened in 2 days.  It was as light as the other on Sat. So, I realized that I usually know what color dye I will get from a bark, based upon how it darkens in a basket.  I also realized that I have some tools at my disposal that many people might not.

Posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 16:20

That was a busy day!  I love your baskets  (would love larger photos to see more detail)   and  I am looking forward to photos of the bobbins you carve. 

I just picked up a bunchh of paper birch bark from a downed tree.  This has been down for awhile, but I am assuming there will still be colour?  I guess I will see.

Another question - in the bag of natural dye stuff I bought at an estate sale there is a small bag of "Yellow Chinchona Bark".  Not sure if that spelling is correct, but that is what is on the bag.  I gather it is from the tree that quinine comes from?  Has anyone used this and what colour will I get? Yellow?  I have found no references at all for this so far.


Posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 17:15

I'll post a close-up on baskets when I completely finish the big one. Is there any specific one you would like to see more detail on?  I was too exhausted yesterday to do any dying, so I fought with the large piece of holly (on left in photo) trying to split it to make shuttles and bobbins.  I didn't have a problem the other day with the smaller branches, but the big piece was impossible.  As I struggled with it, the words jack-hammer and dynamite kept going through my mind.  Keeping in mind that I regularly split white oak logs 12 feet long and twice the diameter, I was only able to split about a foot of this holly and then had to use the saw to free my wedge!  Ruined my best glut too!  This made me determined that I would get something from it, so I managed to get a rough blank for a belt shuttle and a stick shuttle of my own design.  These are the top two tools in picture.  This wood cuts better with a knife than it splits.  All of the tools will have to dry thoroughly for a few months before I can complete the carving and give them a fine polish.  Holly is a wonder wood for this though.

I left the picture large so you can see better.  I put one of the spruce baskets (larger one) alongside a maple (tiny) to try to give a better idea of color difference.  It didn't show right in the picture the other day.  Because the spruce is so light I'm not even going to bother with spruce bark or the holly for dying.  I wind the stick shuttle at the top like a lace bobbin which lets me easily control the amount of thread that winds off, and if I drop it it doesn't unwind.  The handle end is used as a pick when needed.

Regarding your birch bark, you need to be sure to get the inner bark, don't just peel off the outer white stuff.  Sorry, I haven't used the chinchona since I only use local materials.  I'm sure Deb will know.  I looked at her page after you mentioned it.  Wow!  I almost ordered the "Dyes From Native American Plants" book when I ordered my alum but I hesitated.  I just saw Deb's recommendation today and have ordered it.


Posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 17:43

That is a brilliant shuttle design idea!  I like that it holds the yarn, and can be used for the pick-up.     I am so impressed that you make your own implements and baskets and weave! 

I have been looking for a source alum acetate - Maiwa in Vancouver doesn't carry it so I have written to them asking if they might.  Otherwise I will have to look further afield.

I have a pretty thick layer of bark because the wood inside was pretty dried out and it was easy to get.  But I will also go back with a sharp knife and get some fresher stuff from the big stump that is still there. 

The book does look good  but I will order it through inter-library loan first and see if I like it enough to have a copy.




Posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 18:16

Thank you!  I was going to look at their site - they are in Spokane which is only a 2 hr. drive from here.  My son has a U.S. post box just across the border from here, which I can order to as well.

I think the instructions I have read suggest a lot lower percentage, but I will have to look it up again. Perhpas it was mentioned on Jenny Dean's blog,


Posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 18:39

Oops, I just looked at their page again, and see that Kate, who operated the business when it was in Colfax is no longer mentioned.  It is still a farm family owned and operated business.

Posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 02:20

your post #19 is quite wonderful, thank you so much.  You have great knowledge about the woods.  Thank you so much for posting photos of the process.  You make me want to go out and buy some wood tools!   Deb Mc

Posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 22:12

While waiting on the alum I caught up with much neglected duties.  But, I still found a little time to do a couple of things.  While waiting on the pressure canner to come to full steam I picked up the dry piece of cherry (next to the holly chunk in posts 19 and 21), and made another shuttle.  This wood was dry so I was able to complete it.  Not being patient, I decided to kiln dry some of the other pieces in the oven (old stove with pilot light).  When sanding and rasping the holly I noticed something.  The wood, which is very white was looking green.  Aha. . . aluminum oxide sandpaper and a steel rasp!  So I kept the holly leaves which I was going to toss and gathered up all of the holly chips from my whittling and splitting.  They are soaking.

  I wound some white thread on the holly shuttle to see if it would make the greenish color on the wood show. Maybe a little.  The cherry shuttle is just above it, the sword at top is from the chestnut branch, some "bird" bobbins at left,(both holly and tulip poplar), holly belt shuttle at bottom, hickory heddle stick barely showing on the left.

The UPS man arrived with the alum, but not the book, so I went to town to pick up my buckets.  Now that I have a dozen, and a dozen more to come next week, I'll reveal my source - The Donut Shop.  For years I have found them to be a wonderful source of buckets.  Years ago I could get 5 and 10 gallon tins, but now all of that donut filling comes in white plastic buckets, 4 and 5 gal. ones for $1 ea., sometimes they're free.

So with my car smelling like Bavarian creme and blueberry filling (buckets were rinsed but not thoroughly washed), I went on to a very special tree. 

Posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 22:27

I have a sycamore tree at the edge of my field, but I went to collect bark from a very special tree.  There's a lot of stuff about it on the net, some accurate, some not.  A fairly accurate page is:  Sam and Charity Cutright Pringle were my 5X great-grandparents, so you can see why I had to get my bark from this tree. 

  Sycamores shed their bark, so I knew I would find plenty lying about on the ground.  I would NEVER vandalize a tree that comes complete with historical marker and its own park so people can visit it.  The fence around it is topped with barbed wire to prevent vandals from carving their initials.  Even though it had been recently mowed, I quickly picked up a bushel of bark.  I was hoping for a branch too, but found only a couple of small twigs.

  Sycamore bark = red brown, and I put this in a bucket to soak.

Posted on Sat, 07/17/2010 - 15:15

What a great story about the sycamore tree! 

The carvings are so pretty and I can see green in the holly.   

I have a jar filled with the inner birch bark and wool sitting in my greenhouse. 

Thanks for the tip about the buckets.  I will be asking at the local bakeries what they do with their buckets.



Posted on Sun, 07/18/2010 - 22:50

Thanks.  I have been too busy for a couple of days to do much.  Yesterday I got some yarn mordanted and ready.   Today I went ahead and tested the holly chips.  The wood chips turned very green, but the yarn was only slightly more cream colored than the undyed wool.  I over-dyed with the black walnut leaves.  I also did a skein each of cherry leaves, coltsfoot, rhododendron leaves, and sassafras bark.  Will wait to show the results when I have a group ready.  It's nice to have several in one picture so slight variations show better.

Deb, you only need a knife and a piece of sandpaper to start.


Posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 01:56

Haven't found any info on quinine that refers to it as a dye.  Thanks for the info link Deb.  Interesting history. 

I am only assuming it might have dye possibilites because it was in with all the other dyeing stuff.  I guess I will have to soak it and give it a try.


I haven't had a chance to do anything for a couple of days, tomorrow I might have a chance to try something. Lots of birch bark soaking in a bucket. 

I also  have  hazelnut hulls soaking in alcohol after reading Sandra Rudes instructions for wood shavings and sawdust.   The liquid is amber coloured after a few days and I think she soaks stuff for a long time.

Posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 22:25

Here's what I've done thus far, except for a couple that I overlooked while gathering up what I had.

  Clockwise from top center:  chestnut bark and leaves, rotten maple bark, my second try at rhododendron with fresher leaves, the first rhododendron, coltsfoot (a pretty light sage in real life), goldenrod plants, dogbane leaves, holly leaves (very pale but I like this one), hickory leaves, sassafrass leaves, green hickory bark, cherry leaves (another one that looks better in person).  In the center is a nostepinne I made from the sycamore stick. I only smoothed the knots and polished it.  I put the sassafras bark one aside to overdye when the bark has soaked longer - I'm aiming for a darker orange/rust.

I went and picked the dogbane because I wanted to try the red stems, which turn very dark burgundy when dried.  I only used the leaves so far.  I already had some drying to ret and spin the fiber from, but I might like more.  I can't quite bring myself to chop it up yet.

I also switched from my paper labels to the old milk jug label trick.  I needed to be able to label sooner and I can toss these in the dyepot when I'm dying the yarn.

Posted on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 14:58

Some beautiful colours, especially from the barks!  I like the subtle greens too.  

I looked up dogbane and it does grow here, but I don't recognize it.  I will have to go looking for some. 

The milk jug label idea is great.  What kind of pen are you using?


Posted on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 23:00

I use a Sharpie permanent marker. I usually just write the name of the dye plant on the tag before I throw it in the dyepot. If it comes out faded (sometimes it doesn't), then I go over the name again, and add the rest of the info I want on the tag: type of mordant, water, date, etc.

Posted on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 02:01

Slowly I am finding groups in the new weavo format, Helvetican, your colors are beautiful!  I use pudding cups cut up as my markers for my dye skeins. I usually use a hole punch to create a hole to tie it to the skein and usually punch one, two or three holes in it to identify the skein.  That corresponds to my 1, 2, or 3 dye notation on my notes...once everything comes thru the bath I then mark it with a sharpie.  I have been known to also use knots to identify different skein paths.  For instance I can go up to 7 variations.  One thread loop with 3 knots in it and another thread loop that goes up to 4.  When I run gradations that helps alot!  Deb Mc

Posted on Sun, 08/01/2010 - 19:54

At present I am only able to post text. I will return when I'm able to post pictures. I've done some more dyeing and have finished the loom!

Posted on Sun, 08/01/2010 - 19:54

Since I'm not able to post pictures here yet, I have added updates on my dyeing project to My Projects. Sorry, but I can't link either.

Posted on Sun, 08/01/2010 - 20:14

Not all is lost! We can click on your user name above & the system takes us to your profile page and we can go to your projects from there! Off to look at your projects!

Posted on Mon, 08/02/2010 - 15:24

I am so excited! I just had the absolutly best dyepots this year. It came about by actually figuring out what I was doing with tree bark, instead of just having luck (good or bad). Pictures will be posted on the elderberry project. I thought about cutting a branch off the chestnut tree since it had been my richest color so far but I hesitated. Then when cleaning up some of the branches and stuff in the backyard I noticed that the leaves on a poplar branch that I had used part of for a basket, were a glowing mahogany color. Part of this branch was still in my soaking tub because it wasn't peeling very well. I will skip a lot of the details, but what I figured out is that bark needs both air and moisture to develop a rich color. I also figured out what had happened by accident with the chestnut. If you allow a leafy branch to wilt and dry, the leaves will pull much of the color from the branch. So I did this with some other barks(and threw away a lot of stuff that I had soaking) and ended up with some gorgeous colors. I have also included dogbane in the photo, which had also lain out and "cured", and made a fantastic color.

All were mordanted with alum, no iron added to anything.

Posted on Tue, 08/03/2010 - 16:42

SAFETY POST! Make sure you age this away from open flame and ONLY use electric heat with alcohol soak. The fumes are flammable. Electric burner only!

Posted on Tue, 09/21/2010 - 18:03

I've been offline for a few weeks due to the death of my computer, but I'm back now, still with the same posting problems (It's my service provider!). I've been busy splitting a white oak tree and making baskets, and with my garden, but I've still gotten a lot of dyeing done. I've posted on my projects page.

It's great to see all of the exciting dyeing projects that others have been doing!

Posted on Wed, 09/22/2010 - 13:13

White Oak Grandmother,  I have just wandered into this group and am admiring your work.  I don't do much basket work, or whittling, but dabble a bit now and then.  I have a few small holly trees in my front yard that I have been pruning and shaping over the years.  It is in need of some more pruning.  I have noticed how close the grain is on the holly, and super white.  I did whittle some shuttles a bit like your tapestry shuttles with some sticks of holly recently.  Yes, it whittles nicely.  My little shuttles are for inkle weaving on my Glimakra band loom.  That is one that you sit on the side, rather than at the end of the loom.  It is counterbalance, too.  So, I use the little shuttle in one hand and a beater in the other.

   I am inspired by this group to go wander my property in search of dying, basketry and whittling materials.  If I were several persons I would definitely be making baskets as well as my present weaving and wool milling.

   Thanks for the inspiration.

Aunt Janet

Posted on Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:48

I learned a good trick on tags from Catherine Ellis. Tags are cut from Tyvek envelopes (free from PO, or recycle used). I punch holes in mine & thread then on the ties on the skeins. I can write with a sharpie (yarn, wt, date, dye, overdye, etc) & the tag gets wrinkled, but readable, when dyeing.


PS I love this column

Posted on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 12:22

I wanted to make a belt shuttle from the holly because I remembered that my grandfather had my father bring him a piece of holly so he could make a new shuttle for his chair loom. I've made a couple more. I read somewhere that holly is the only wood suitable for harpsichord hammers because it won't split.

I find that I gain inspiration from others beautiful work in unexpected ways. I may not make something anywhere close to what I've seen, but seeing something great starts the creative gears turning in my mind. And thinking of you, Aunt Janet, and the great idea for the paper basket of Laverne's, I can visualize beautiful baskets made of handmade paper! I'm working on one now made of brown kraft paper, some of which I've dyed in my leftover dyebaths.

I like the tag idea. It's always good to keep different possibilities in mind.

Posted on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 14:27

I just realized that some of you might want to know the time and fuel saving trick that I use when cooking dyeplants. I have several thick styrofoam coolers of the sort that frozen foods and medical supplies are shipped in. I line a cooler with a plastic bag, bring my dyestuff to a boil, and dump it in the cooler. (I usually do several at a time.) The next day when I check it, it's still too hot to put my hand in it. If it's ready to dye with, it takes only a short time to bring the temperature back up, and if it needs more time, I bring it to a boil and put it back in the cooler again.

And FYI, chestnut burrs (wear gloves), and hickory nut hulls make great dye materials!

Posted on Tue, 10/12/2010 - 19:52

I've finished with my dyeing project for this summer and have posted the pictures on my projects page since some glitch won't let me post them here. I also can't post the link, but if you click on my user name you can find them.

Posted on Mon, 01/30/2012 - 12:12

Edward Worst's, "Foot-Powered Loom Weaving" (1920), has a bunch or recipies for dying as well. It's on the internet Archives as a free PDF file.


I detect the previous post as potential spam.