To celebrate the beautiful rich shades of the May garden, I've started a little purple, pink and indigo dyeing project.Yesterday I mordanted some silk scarves and wool with alum. After soaking overnight, they were ready to drink up the colors. I'm using madder, lac and indigo.


 This is my favorite weather for gardening and dyeing - fresh and damp without harsh sunlight.

Pink, purple,and indigo in layers of wet color

The flowers come and go so quickly. It helps to visit the garen every day. Photographs are fine reminders.The pure colors of the garden are so inspiring. I'm compelled to use natural dyes to make textile reminders too.


I've found that the colors of a lac dye bath  seem to shift from ruby, crimson, rose and pink to a lavender gray if the dye is left to sit very  long, or when a lot of the pigment is depleted.  This seems to occur no matter what the temperature of the liquid,  the fiber I use, and in spite of any additives. Though these secondary colors are lovely and elegant, I want to use as much as possible of  of the rose and pink shades first  Wool is good for collecting these colors.  I'll work with the stately gray tones later.


Wool and lac

Drippy lilac

Drippy purple silk

Last of the lily flowered tulips with Humphrey, my helper in the background.




Looks like this experiment is a success. Such great colors, they sing to me

laura bellel

Thank you! Watching colors "bloom" on fabric and fiber is so much fun for me..:)


Hi Laura?, I found your blog through your beautiful pictures on Flickr!
Madder roots can function as a reducing agent in an indigo fermentation vat, together with bran. It doesn't matter if they are used up for dyeing. I want to try that once (wasn't succesfull yet) so I save used madderroots carefully for that purpose.

laura bellel

Hi Meta,
It's so nice to see you here - Welcome! (I love your interesting and lovely Flickr photos!)
Thank you very much for the good idea. I've read about using madder as a reducer for indigo, but didn't realize that it could be old, used-up,finished roots. Thanks to you, I'll definitely save these and add them to the indigo vat this summer.

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