Once upon a time, I dyed a bunch of fabrics using natural dye extracts I had bought at Maiwa on a trip to Vancouver with my mom. I think it must have been a little over a year ago, because I had recently bought Kristine Vejar’s The Modern Natural Dyer and was suddenly keen to DYE ALL THE THINGS naturally rather than with the acid dyes and fiber reactive dyes I’ve posted about here. My notes say these use madder, coreopsis, and quebracho; there are a variety of other mysterious scribblings that seem to indicate I subjected some of them to different pH levels and/or treated them with iron.
These fabrics have been sitting in my crafting nook, by a window. And clearly they are not lightfast, because when laid flat, nearly all of them now have noticeable fade marks along the creases. But I’ve found a pattern where I think I can turn this into a design feature. The Pleated Patchwork quilt from Amy Ellis’s Modern Neutrals is built from simple pleated blocks like this one.
I’ve been wanting to make this quilt since I first saw it; I just love the look of the little gill-like pleats, and I imagine they’ll make the quilt very cuddly and warm. (Here’s Amy’s version.) The blocks are very easy and satisfying to churn out. What I realized also is that, even if these fabrics end up fading even more once the quilt is finished, I think they might fade in an interesting way due to the pleats. So maybe my newbie status as a natural dyer will end up giving this quilt even more character!
If anyone has tips for increasing the lightfastness of pieces when using natural dyes, though, please chime in!