Walk into your own front yard, wander through your garden, and at your fingertips there very well could be dye plants growing.
May's Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along project is the Flowers at My Fingertips Sewing Kit. Through this project, we explore how the garden is a source of dye plants, and how to take those flowers and leaves and print with them on fabric. This process is also referred to as eco-printing and in my mind was first popularized by artist and natural dyer, India Flint. Not all flowers are created the same in the eye's of the dyer, there are certainly some whose color and print are longer-lasting than others, and we cover those in The Modern Natural Dyer. That said, I have seen some really amazing, unexpected results from plants I wouldn't have typically deemed as "dye plants". Perhaps it is the fact that the flower is so intently pushed into the surface of the fabric.
Once the fabric has been printed, it is cut and sewn into a traveling sewing kit.
This is what it looks like folded; all of your tools ready for a journey. I don't know about you but there is rarely a time I don't have a sewing or knitting project in tow.
Here are a few tips when approaching this project:
+ Always mordant your fabric for the most long-lasting and saturated color.
+ I used wool flannel for my sewing kit, though, feel free to use other medium weight fabrics, like white cotton denim, and simply follow the directions for scouring and mordanting cellulose-based goods.
+ Turn to The Modern Natural Dyer's 20-page spread of dye plants to find those which will make great dye - and for ideas of what to plant in your garden this Spring!
+ Experiment with plants in your yard, you only have to scour and mordant once, you can keep dye many times on that piece of fabric - in case you would like to add more layers, or a flower fades.
+ Though I made this kit with the sewer in mind, it could easily be adapted for knitting tools.
To help you with sourcing the materials for this project, at Verb, we have made a kit. This is a great project for you to do with kids! It includes the scour, mordant, fabric, thread, and branch which you use in the dyeing process.
If you are in the area, I am teaching a class on eco-printing called Mapping Color. Join me in making your own eco-printed fabric! And if you are interested in growing your very own dye garden, join Adrienne for her class, Growing and Gathering Dye Plants.