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Cross stitch freebie + eco-dyeing, more results

I have been busy with sorting out more of my eco-dying experiments from the summer. I am going to show the pieces I tryed to dye with the bundles method I learnt from India Flint.
You take a piece of fabric, pre-mordanted with alum or alum+washing soda, put some plants (petals, leaves etc) on it, wrap it up tightly around a twig (tree bark contains tanin that can also help as a mordant) and tye it all around with a string. Then you can cook them in water or steam them - this is what I tried. See more details below.

It was not easy, as the pile of my samples grows, to keep track of what is what. I tried to number the fabric pieces with a pen - thinking that ink does not come out with washing, so it should be OK. It worked for most of the time but not always, I have some pieces which have the number all smudged out, so now it will be some guesswork. I took lots of photos during the process, and in this post I will try to match the photos of the same pieces together.

All these fabric pieces come from an old, probably hand-woven tablecloth that I bought at a loppis (second hand shop). Looks like cotton but it is possible that it is cotton-linen blend. It was pre-treated with alum and washing soda (2 tbs + 1 tbs to 5 liter water, India Flint's recipe). I tried all kinds of plants and flowers, I was desperately seeking after reds, roses, lilac... even though I read that it is very difficult to get those colours. I needed to see it with my own eyes. And, of course, I did. I mean, I did see that it is difficult :D

The names of the plants come in this order: English (Latin, Swedish, Hungarian).


Brown knappweed (Centaura jacea, rödklint, réti imola) and harebell (Campanula rotundifolia, liten blåklocka, kereklevelű harangvirág)

And the results:


3 Lady's bedstraw (Galium verum, gulmåra, tejoltú galan)

4 Purple flowerewd raspberry, (Rubus odoratus, rosenhallon, lila virágú málna)

5 Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca, kråkvicker, kaszanyűg bükköny)

6 Red clover (Trifolium pratense, rödklöver, réti here))

You cannot see the numbers in the photos, but they are the same, 3-6, in the same order.

Another picture with all of them, 1-6, just before I rolled them up. You can see, I only used the petals and I used some twigs to roll them into, then tied them with a piece of string. India Flint sugests a steamer to steam them for an hour. I didn't have a steamer so I came up with a solution that worked most of the time - but not always. I put water in a plastic container, put the rolls in it but so that they did not touch the water, put the whole thing in the microwave and turned it on for about 10 minutes. The water made steam and I did not open the door for about an hour. I think this is not exactly the same as steaming for real for one hour, but is seemed to work. But who knows, it might have affected the colours that I could get out of the plants. Not much, right? :( Oh, and one more thing: after they came out of the microwave, I put them in plastic bags and kept them out on the balcony (with some sunshine but not much) for about two weeks.


7 Tufted vetch pods (Vicia cracca, baljor av kråkvicker, kaszanyűg bükköny termése)
8 Creeping thistel (Cirsium arvense, åkertistel, mezei aszat)
9 Common agrimony, (Agrimonia eupatoria, småborre, közönséges párlófű)
10 Heather (Calluna vulgaris, ljung, csarab)


11-12 Great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum, rosendunört, borzas füzike)
13 Dog rose (Rosa dumalis, nyponros, vadrózsa)

The first one in this picture is n. 10, see above, the second is 11, and in the bottom row 12 and 13.

The next batch of eco-bundles came a week later.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium, rölleka, cickafark)

Rowan leaf (Sorbus acuparia, japansk rönn löv, madárberkenye levele)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, fackelblomster, réti füzény)
Blueweed, (Echium vulgare, blåeld, terjőke kígyószisz - micsoda név, uramisten!)

And the result - this was the one when I realised that the steaming method I came up with might not work :( There wasn't enough water in the plastic container or I cooked it too long, anyway, the bundle got burned in the microwave. You can see it on the result. And my microwave still smells burnt. :(

kanadensiskt gullris, ringblomma, salvia, ljung

The result:

Common hollyhock (my neighbours have one that is deep purple, almost black) (Alcea rosea, stockros, mályvarózsa)

I decided not to wash it right away, after taking it out of the bundle. So I dried it, and keept it for a week or so.

Then washed it. Not much of the colour is left, but there is some. Kind of greenish-blue. Or bluish-green. (The brown in the end of the fabric comes from the iron rod I used to wrap it in - the iron gave it some extra mordanting - perhaps that's why it became greenish.
Again, not a very scientific way of experimenting. Which I now regret. I should have done two pieces, one with and one without the iron. Next time.

There were a few more plants and lichens I tried but they did not give any results, or - what is worse - I cannot find the sample :D Need to find a better way of marking my fabrics. I will have to buy some permanent fabric markers.

Anyway, to sum it all up, I have found a dozen or so plants that one can use to dye a piece of fabric yellow or beige, some of them a nice shade, most of them not so nice. The malva was the only one that had another colour.

Anyway, now I know. :D Not giving up. Autumn is here, berries and mushrooms might become the next victims. But before that, I still have a bunch of fabric I want to show you. Come back soon if you want to see the results of dyeing with avocado, red onions, beetroot etc.

And for all those who managed to read all this far, a little present. I made this cross stitch pattern just for you :D

Click on the picture to get to the pdf file. I hope you like it.

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