Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Natural dyes

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Gather your plants from an area where the species you are after is abundant. Be sure to not take more than two-thirds of the plants from any one area. Natural fabrics work best with natural dyes, so choose cotton or wool (you can use yarn if you like).

The amount of material needed for the dyepot varies. For four ounces of cloth or yarn, use 12 ounces of plant material, one ounce of alum, and 1/4 ounce of cream of tartar in four quarts of water. Soak skeins of white yarn or material in plain water for 24 hours before dyeing.

Create Dye

  1. Put water in a large pot, add shredded plant parts (place in net bag)
  2. Simmer 1/2 to 1 hour (just below the boiling point)
  3. Strain out material (remove net bag)

Dye Fibers

  1. Add alum and cream of tartar to water and stir (cream of tartar helps keep fibers soft)
  2. Put in pre-moistened fiber/yarn
  3. Simmer until material is a little darker than you desire, stirring and submerging occasionally
  4. Remove from heat

Remove Fibers from Bath and Dry

  1. Rinse (starting with warm water) until cool
  2. Hang to dry

Be sure to wash the cloth by itself the first time you launder it. The last thing you want to do is accidentally dye your other clothes!