I was visiting Jude Hill's blog recently and I saw she had experimented with azalea blossoms in her dye pot. She posted a beautiful image of a pale pink piece of cotton and I fell in love with it. Lucky me, my azalea bush was in full bloom, so I immediately went outside and picked a bunch of blossoms and decided to spend some time experimenting.

When I went searching for cloth to use, I came across bundles of flowers I had wrapped in newsprint and put away at some point in the past. I decided to give them a whirl along with the azalea blossoms. I really have very little idea of what I am doing. It seems every year or so, I try some natural dye experimentation for all of a week or so, and then I drop it until another year passes! Maybe this time I'll stick with it for a while - I'm feeling optimistic. 

I think my introduction to eco-dye was via India Flint's marvelous book, Eco Colour: botanical dyes for beautiful textiles. What a wonderful book!  That book was followed by Second Skin, another book I'm pleased to have on my shelf. The book I am using while I attempt my latest foray into the World of Dye, is a sweet little book by India, titled the bundle book.

I made quite a few cotton bundles with a variety of ingredients, even adding nuts and dried fruits to one of the bundles. The most gorgeous combination was when I dusted the purple glads with turmeric. It may not work well as a dye, but it sure does look spectacular in the "before" photo!


I spent quite a bit of time making various bundles and I'm hoping my jotted notes will be sufficient to remind me of what I've done. All I have to do now is be patient and try not to unbundle them too soon. It does occur to me, rather belatedly, that green (dyed?) string might not have been a wise choice. We'll see.


I haven't had a drink, yet I'm weaving


I signed up for Just Considering Weave with Jude Hill (Spirit Cloth). My first attempt was with pale teal and white threads. It took only a few rows before I realized it looked mostly white and very boring.

So, I switched to a more colorful palette. For my warp thread, I chose a nice raspberry red. For the weft, I used a variegated thread, which almost feels like cheating, because it makes it so easy to weave a pattern. 

Colorful is good at this time of year ... like my geraniums. My geraniums, by the way, allow me to pretend I have a green thumb. If it weren't for virtually maintenance-free plants, I'd have to admit the truth that gardening is but one of many Martha Stewart-esque talents which I lack.

I never look at geraniums without being reminded of a favorite childhood poem, written by A.A. Milne, author of the Winnie-the-Pooh series of books. I enjoy this poem even more as an adult. 


There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And all the day long he’d a wonderful view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:
“Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.
Just say ‘Ninety-nine’ while I look at your chest….
Don’t you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?”

The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied
(When he’d said “Ninety-nine”) that he’d tried and he’d tried,
And much the most answering things that he knew
Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,
And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:
“What the patient requires is a change,” and he went
To see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.

The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),
And he knew there was nothing he wanted instead
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,
He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent.
“Now these,” he remarked, “give a much better view
Than geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).”

They took out their spades and they dug up the bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
“And now,” said the Doctor, “we’ll soon have you right.”

The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh:
“I suppose all these people know better than I.
It was silly, perhaps, but I did like the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).”

The Doctor came round and examined his chest,
And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest.
“How very effective,” he said, as he shook
The thermometer, “all these chrysanthemums look!”

The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sight
Of the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
“How lovely,” he thought, “to be back in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red.)”

The Doctor said, “Tut! It’s another attack!”
And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,
And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,
And murmured, “How sweet your chrysanthemums are!”

The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,
And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:
“I’ll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!”

The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,
And saying, “There’s nobody quite understands
These cases as I do! The cure has begun!
How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!”

The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tight
He could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white.
And all that he felt at the back of his head
Were delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said)
If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed,
You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies
Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.


Winnie-the-Pooh belonged to Christopher Robin, of course. I had my own bear. Here I am with my dog and my bear, circa 1952. 

My bear is still with me, in 2014. There are some things one doesn't give up.