Willow twigs in the Spring

Is there a dyeing seasonal schedule?  That was a question posed in a natural dyeing blog that I receive.  Well, of course, if you dye from leaves and flowers…follow their schedule.  But, what about now when it’s early spring and not much has unfurled yet.  How about sap rising as part of that season?

So, here’s my experiment with early willow which is growing in a “ditchy area” in my neighborhood.

Willow twigs

Willow twigs

I gathered some willow sticks.  The buds are just starting to get fat, so, logically, the sap should be rising.  No leaves yet.  I cut the sticks into six inch lengths and put them in a dye pot; covered them with water.  I brought them to a simmer and turned off the heat so the pot stays hot for a bit.  Not much color.

So, the next morning, I repeated the process.  Not much color.  So much for rising sap.

But, I had put some effort into this pot of willow twigs so, I repeated the process over the next days.  Sometimes heating them a couple times a day.  Sometimes, letting the pot go to a boil.  After a few days, the water was darker and my sample fabric was showing a bit of color.  So, I kept repeating the process.

Here’s the result after a week of periodic heating.  I shibori-dyed a piece of cotton that had been prepared with aluminum acetate.  It’s a pleasant tan color, with the hint of pink that is mentioned with willow.

Happy in the sun

Happy in the sun into the sun.  OOOPS!!

Happy, the wonder dog….has to get in the middle of any picture.  She’s not trying to be sultry…she’s looking into the sun.  OOOPS!!



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