Saturday, October 27, 2018

Black Walnut Season

A few years ago I did walnut dyeing and froze some of the dye for future use.  Sometime in the last year I pulled out the last of my concoction to spot dye some rugs to give them the antique look.  

In good weather I walk to my mailbox (1 mile circumference around the meadow) which takes me past black walnut trees.  Within arms reach was able to grab 30 walnuts.  
It doesn't really take that many to dye according to this recipe:

  • Soak 5 hulls in water in container for couple days (I only soaked 1  day)
  • Heat to a simmer for 1 hour (think I simmered mine longer)
  • Put 1/2 yard wet wool in dye bath and simmer covered (I didn't  measure mine but am sure it was more than half yard.
  • Keep wool in pot long enough to achieve the desirable patina.
  • Remove wool and gently wash with 1 teaspoon shampoo or mild detergent (no bleach).
  • Hang to dry or dry in low temp dryer.
  • If you still have color in the pot you can throw in more wool.  
  • Hulls can be removed, frozen and used again.  But I throw them out and freeze the liquid instead.
No mordant is necessary but I put in a glug of white vinegar to expedite the absorption of color.

These are my results.  I have placed a small strip of the original wool on top of the dyed wool.  Am planning on using some of these colors in my camp project and wanted the 'dirty' look.  
And in all honesty, I didn't care for the original colors of all those wools; especially the blue/purple on bottom left.  Don't think I've ever used that wool.

Happy wet Saturday, but at least the nor'easter wasn't a monster.  Had some rain and a little wind but thank gawd no trees were toppled.



  1. they look great with the walnut overstetement... I love the red in the upper right before and after, it get a lot of use in my rugs...

  2. I have not yet gathered any black walnuts this year. I better not wait any longer.
    Great results.

  3. Thanks for the walnut info. I made some "dye" last year and still have it. I want to tone down some bright red wool,so am going to experiment.

    Glad to hear your weather isn't too bad. Been drizzling here all day.

  4. Makes a difference,,,
    Have never tried that,,,
    Always something to try,
    Thanks fir the recipe!!
    Have so much wool,, I dont need to dye much anymore,,, just for fun,,,
    Take care,
    Getting closer to ur camp time,,,

  5. Love your results!! Can’t pick a favorite. They all look great.

  6. Oh, I love them all dyed. I love walnut dye - don't think I've seen anything dyed with it that I don't like. I also have a recipe for making old fashioned ink for dipping pens but have never made it.

  7. Hi Saundra,
    Your wool looks fabulous after your dye session!! We sure don't have any walnut trees out here that I know of, or I would be picking some!! Have you ever dyed with onion skins and do you do it the same way? Thanks for sharing and have fun with all your "new" wool!!
    Enjoy your week!
    Heart Hugs~


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