Eucalyptus Dye Recipe
As an orange lover, I was delighted to learn that eucalyptus yields an orange color. Eucalyptus yields a “fugitive” dye meaning that without a fixative it will fade on exposure to light. Natural dye expert India Flint (http://www.indiaflint.com) believes that this is part of the process of using and wearing textiles whose color must be renewed…an interesting concept.
Health warning: eucalyptus is a toxin if ingested! And be sure to use only bowls, pots, and tools that are dedicated to dyeing only!
Grackle and Sun’s blogpost: http://grackleandsun.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/dye-day-1-results-eucalyptus/ notes that Eucalyptus pulverulenta
yields orange…and that is what she used in her post.
Wikipedia notes that there are 734 species of eucalyptus and 3 hybrids. I used an unknown species from my sister’s yard here in the Low Country of South Carolina. We had a harsh winter and a lot of the branches and leaves that I used had been frozen so they were “freeze dried.”
6.5 oz oz of eucalyptus, used small twigs and leaves, dried as noted above
I added these to my crockpot which is a dedicated dyepot together with several quarts of water to fill the crockpot. I confess, I did not measure the water. At some point the water evaporated and I added another quart. I let this simmer for several hours then cool overnight.
For the dyeing, I used two small skeins of handspun silk, one of which I had previously simmered in an alum mordant dyepot for an hour (see the recipe below).
I simmered both skeins for an hour in the dyepot with the eucalyptus still in…then let it sit overnight to cool, then let them drip dry.
Here are the results: lovely, wonderful…and possibly fugitive…the mordanted on the right is duller and browner. Unmordanted, on the left, is probably fugitive, and a fabulous coppery shiny thing.
Mordant Bath Recipe
1) 1 gallon of Bluffton South Carolina tap water (next time I would use warm tap water to reduce the time needed to warm it once in the mordant bath)
2) 1 oz alum
.25 oz cream of tartar was suggested by one website, but I eliminated this as it also said that cream of tarter brings out more pastels but is easier on fiber so I decided to eliminate it…I preferred to not have the color toned down
I doubled the amounts of water and alum to give enough liquid to cover the fiber in the mordant bath
Directions: Preheat your dedicated dyepot and mix water and alum in it, with a dedicated stirring tool. Premoisten the fiber and add, bring to a simmer. Simmer for an hour then leave in the dyepot to cool overnight. Parts of my fiber took on a silvery (alminumy?) tone. The next day, drain. You can reserve the mordant bath for another mordant bath if you wish.