Step #2 – Sampling Colors from Our Garden

11 July 2020

Previous posts:

  • Liberation Skirt – My Interpretation of the Liberation Skirt – Read more HERE.
  • Step # 1 – Two Experiments in Making a Small-Sized Trial for the Skirt and the Hoop – Read HERE.

The colors for my Liberation Skirt depend on Nature. I am amazed and grateful to the abundance of her gifts. I have been busy dyeing large pieces of old cotton sheets with Coreopsis for the skirt, since it is most abundant. In addition, I made samples of many of our other plants (like for details on the skirt), such as

  • Larkspur
  • Yarrow
  • Mallow Family (Globe Mallow, Hollyhock)
  • Calendula, Squaw Bush, Vitex, Marigold, Dahlia + Zinnia

. The samples of each plant color vary, depending on

  • Cloth preparation (mordanting – or method used for opening the cells of the fabric so the dye can enter)
  • Temperature of the dye bath
  • Soil in which the plant was growing and the soil temperatures
  • Dye water Ph (acid – alkaline)
  • Duration – how long in the bath
  • Light fastness


Quite a variety of shades! Plus I was playing around with lemon and rust water I made from old rusty nails. I made silkscreen prints with ink made with a Coreopsis paste. Will definitely explore that idea further. And look at the variety of cotton threads!


I got very excited about our wild Larkspur volunteers. Sadly, I thought of them too late – when they were almost all done flowering. That will be a next year project. So surprising – the lemon made pink even on just lightly-dyed pieces; the iron water a pretty brown. I see that the color is not very lightfast.


We have white wild yarrow and yellow yarrow growing. Yarrow is an amazing herb. Wearing clothes that are dyed with it will make your skin open to its healing gifts (Ayurvastra).

The Mallows

I love this family! We have Globe Mallow growing wild all over in spring. It has a little orange flower with edible grayish leaves. Then we have Hollyhocks – in all shades of pink and red. My fave part is their seed pods. Amazing sculptures and architecture for their seeds.

In dyeing, I love what happens with lemon juice and iron water: pink and browns!

Calendula, Squaw Bush, Vitex, Marigold, Dahlia + Zinnia

Most of these are awesome healing plants. I will definitely use these with Ayurvastra in mind. Instead of using them for dyeing, I mostly use Calendula to make salves and tinctures. Squaw Bush is the local traditional basket-making source like the Dutch Wilgen (Willows), Vitex is another interesting plant (“Chaste Tree!”) and the beautiful Marigold, Dahlia and Zinnia.

So what’s next?

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