Oh Poop!! Black Walnut and Sumac

The black walnuts are falling and so I’m wading into the fray…contesting the squirrels for the nuts.  I try to explain to them that I’ll take the hull and leave them the inside!!  I made an effort to use the petroglyph images and I’m somewhat pleased with the results.

Somewhat!!  The middle onesie features a stitched goat.  The onesie was pre-dyed in honeysuckle giving it a good backyard yellow.  Then, I dipped the top of the garment in the indigo pot before I woke up the donkey–that’s Michel’s term.  That is, before I added pickling lime to activate the indigo.  It gave a nice light green.  The base was tripled dipped in the activated indigo so it has a nice dark color.

With that good start, I tried to re-do the goat figure…this time taking advantage of the black walnut.  (Over honeysuckle.)  In a word…DISASTER!!  The images aren’t very strong.  (Mental note, try capping next time.)  The black walnut isn’t very dark.  But, worst of all the color is pretty much the color of baby poop.  And, I know that because I changed diapers on the great nieces.



Finally, another poop story.  Sorry…I’m stuck on the metaphor!!

Staghorn sumac seedlings

But, I’m excited about this.  On the look-out for Staghorn sumac (not the poisonous sumac) I knicked some leaves and branches from a park.  Very illegal.  And, I picked some from a roadside … questionable.  So, I decided to see if I could grow the sumac.  I researched it and found that the goal is trick the seeds.  To mimic the seeds journey through a bird…they eat and POOP the seeds.  Get it?  And, then the seeds wait during winter.  My googled procedure is to put the seeds in boiling water–that breaks down the seed coating.  And, then put them in the fridge for a month.  Finally, plant them.  And, here are the four seedlings who survived this roller coaster ride.  The seeds will sit in my window until the spring when I will plant my Staghorn sumac copse.

One of my goals with natural dyeing is to forage the materials locally.  Yup…I can go to the supply houses and secure natural materials that are grown and shipped from faraway.  (I can give provide the names of some excellent suppliers.)  But how cool is it to be able to dye with local materials.


3 thoughts on “Oh Poop!! Black Walnut and Sumac

  1. Hello Moya,

    I like your story! I don’t think it’s a disaster, you could very well discharge and create some nice patterns, including the goat figure!
    It’d be interesting to know what you end up with in this project.

    Good luck with your sumac seedlings! Another way to treat seeds before planting is instead of boiling water putting them into medium Pottasium Permanganate solution for several days and then plant.


  2. Also walnut hull dye with an iron after wash will go a gorgeous gray on unmordanted fibers, and really rich browns on mordanted ones. Try some without the yellow under, it really is pretty, but I love it best with an iron treatment. I use a glass jar of half water, half white vinegar, and throw in about a tablespoon of iron oxide powder (potters and ceramic supply places have this) and wait until the liquid turns yellowy. It takes about a week, and supposedly you can get the same effect with rusty nails. Then I put about a cup of this liquid in a bucket of warm water, being careful to leave the rusty sludge in the jar. submerge your dyed fibers and watch the color change before your eyes! I’m enjoying your dye blog. Thanks! – Kim

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