natural non-dye

pt reyes

when i was visiting cali back in march, i brought back a little sample of some old man’s beard lichen. one of the natural dyeing books i perused has a recipe to dye wool a bright orange with “bartflechte” aka old man’s beard aka Usnea barbata. the northern californian old man’s beard must not have the same dye properties as its german counterpart. i followed the recipe exactly, but my wool went from white to beige. it does smell distinctly like northern california now though, which i guess could be seen as an aromatherapy update. i’m waiting on an order of alum (Alaun auf Deutsch), a mordant used to make natural dyes stick. hopefully i’ll have better luck with onion skins and red beets once the alum arrives.

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