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botanical dyeing with ponderosa pine cones

pine cone dye

ponderosa pine also known as yellow pine is local to the bioregion where i live so i decide to try a dye bath experiment with them. this post is about dyeing fabrics, not yarn although animal fibers do tend to pick up the dye better. animal fibers usually end up darker than cellulose fibers.

ponderosa pine dye

top left is linen fabric just dyed not pre-treated. top right is a linen fabric also that was treated in a soy milk binding. bottom left is a spandex/cotton mix that was treated in the soy milk binding agent. the middle bottom is silk not treated just dyed. as you can see the animal fibers do really pick up the dye. the bottom left is a cotton/spandex blend that wasn't treated or mordanted in anything. just dyed. sometimes i use alum mordant and sometimes i use soymilk as a binding agent. the nice thing about using soy is it's non-toxic. alum acetate for cellulose fiber does work really good though. the book the modern natural dyer by kristine vejar goes over mordants for cellulose in depth. if botanical dyeing interests you i highly recommend this book. so first things fist let's collect some pine cones.....

ponderosa pine cone craft

ponderosa pine trees are so pretty but boy watch for ticks if you are doing this project in the spring.

pine cone crafts

botanical dyeing is a really slow process this whole experiment took about a week. but with that said botanical dyeing is something that is really easy to weave into your life.

bontanical dyeing

i filled my dye pots as full as i could i also have an aluminum pot and i like to use that too it often provides different shades. as many cones as i could fill in the pots with water is what i used. then i placed them on the wood stove which isn't going constantly this time of year. i build a fire at night and let it go out during the day. but when the fire was ripping these pots were simmering a little. as they cooked down i added more cones to the pots. i left them on the stove doing this simmer, cool completely, simmer cool completely thing for four days.

natural dyeing with pine cones

then i strain the cones out and added the liquid back to the dye pot. with the fabrics and placed back on the wood stove.

ponderosa pine dye

i continued on with the simmer, cool completely, simmer, cool completely. only because that is what i was doing with the wood stove. it required nothing of me. i might have done something different if i was relying on my cook stove alone. but this way the dye pots could just be. i repeated this for a few more days.

dyeing fabrics with pine cones

i like to pull the fabrics from the dye pots and immediately hang them on the line to dry before washing. i do this because i feel like it helps to "set" the dye. after they dried i washed them twice and line dried as well because i don't have a dryer. i am happy with the outcome of this pine come dye. pine cones are everywhere so it was a nice experiment and i do plan on more pine cone dyeing in the future.

pine cone dyeing

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