Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Natural Dye

I first heard of turmeric when I went vegan. I started using it in a variety of dishes, from curries to scrambled tofu.You may know it from mustard or perhaps you use it in cooking as well. If you've used it then you've also probably discovered that it can really stain just about any surface. I've always wanted to try using it as a natural dye, but never really got around to it until last night.

turmeric
Turmeric

I was organizing a closet when I came upon this gorgeous table cloth and matching napkins that had once belonged to my great grandmother Maria. My aunt Karen had stored them in her shed for years and they were terribly stained. I had tried everything in my power to remove the stains finally consulting the professionals. The professional opinion was that I should dye them because those stains were there to stay.

So last night I thought I'd try a little experiment with natural dyes. There was no way that I could ruin the napkins and table cloth. So I pulled out my biggest pot and added some hot water. I then stirred in about a tablespoon of turmeric and the napkins. I put the whole thing on the stove over low heat and cooked it for about a half of an hour. I stirred occasionally to make sure that the dye was evenly saturating the napkins. Next I carefully removed the napkins (remember turmeric will stain EVERYTHING) and rinsed them out in my sink. I repeated the process with the tablecloth. Then I took it all downstairs (keeping it on a cookie sheet to avoid drips) and tossed it in the wash. I ran the wash a couple of times to ensure that all of the dye was out.

rinsing

When I pulled them out of the dryer I was so pleased with the results. Please forgive me for not getting the ironing done yet today (Oh who am I kidding, I probably won't get out the iron at all today, it's hot). Anyway I think that they look fresh and sunny.

C and tablecloth

Yellow tablecloth

A word to the wise, if you decide to try this wear gloves if you don't want to look jaundiced.

Have you ever used natural dyes? If so what did you use?

15 comments:

Tammie said...

the color is so rich and pretty. im going to try this. we always have turmeric (we eat a lot of curries) and i have plenty of vintage napkins that need freshening.

AKM said...

I've never tried it, but I love what you ended up with! I love yellow in a kitchen...so cheery! Cute little sundress on Miss C. :-)

affectioknit said...

That is just too AWESOME for words - I absolutely love it! and yes I've used some natural dyes...I used some walnut hulls to dye a doll's dress...tea to dye some quilting material...goldenrod to dye a part for a costume - but I can see now that turmeric would have been a much better choice...

Kate Ware said...

That color is gorgeous, and so cheerful!! What a great idea -- I didn't know you could use Turmeric as a dye. Might have to try that myself! TFS!

Kate said...

A) I did not know tumeric was a natural dye! We love it for rice.
B) I adore yellow right now.
C) We also use cloth napkins. Not sure why that's exciting, lol.
D) Definitely gonna try this

**EYE-SNACKS** said...

thank you Maria Rose,for visiting my blog and to leave such a nice comment!

Jennifer said...

I also never thought of using turmeric to color natural fabrics, but now I'm making a mental list of all the things I'd like to dye with it! Thanks for the tip about gloves; I'm already pretty pale, I don't need to add jaundiced hands to the mix ;)

Gramerly said...

It does look sunny. I love it.
I have used jewel weed, red cabbage and poke berries to with my students and gramerlings to dye yarn. Lichen makes pink I understand. Such a happy ending for your grandma's stained linens.

Carmen said...

Wow that's great! The colour is so vibrant, and more yellow than mustardy which I would have expected. Might have to give that a go with something :)

Rachel said...

it looks great!! now I feel I need to find something to dye and give it a try! =)

Susan S said...

Oh so very beautiful...Grandma Maria would love it I am sure!

Nicole Justice-Kleemann said...

Wow, gorgeous! I am in love with the shade of yellow!

Mason-Jezek Journal said...

Love it!! Can't wait to see it in person very soon! :) We can't wait to see you guys.

Keia Kato-Berndt said...

Your fabric looks beautiful! I have used different types of natural dye but never tumeric. I have used onion skins, cochineal, and indigo.

Yvonne said...

WOW! I love the new color! Way to salvage a beautiful table cloth. I'm going to have to give this a whirl too.

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