Natural dyeing

Dyeing with Autumn Oak Leaves

I was pleased with the results of my acorn dyeing so decided to try some oak leaves. In her book “Wild Color”, Jenny Dean shows the oak leaves producing a variety of shades from tan through mustard-yellow to khaki. This being November, the oak leaves I gathered were brown, dry, crispy and fallen from the tree. I don’t know if this makes a big difference to the resulting colour? I suppose I will just have to repeat the experiment in spring with fresh green leaves to tell!

I soaked 200g of oak leaves overnight, then simmered them the next day for an hour and left them overnight again to ‘brew’ before straining. I didn’t mordant the yarn as oak leaves are rich in tannin. Maybe that’s what made them stink so bad when they were simmering…

After simmering in the dyebath for one hour, my 50g skein of DROPS Flora was a soft camel colour. Nice, but I decided to add 2 tsp of copper sulphate to the dyebath to see if I could nudge it more towards the reddish range. No – I got a khaki-brown. Close enough to the colour I got from the acorns but different enough that it make a nice tonal contrast (that is the great thing about natural dyes – they all work well together!)

Weight of dye-stuff: approx 200g
Weight of yarn: 50g
Mordant: None
Modifier: 2 tsp copper sulphate