Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Harvesting Dyes Workshop at G.C.V. &M

I recently had the great good  fortune to join 
a workshop on natural dying at the 
Genesee County Village and Museum
in Mumford N.Y.
With Dawn Hastings as our instructor!

It was great fun and very interesting!

It is amazing the colors that you can get with 
natural flowers, nuts and bark, plants,
minerals, shells and even insects!

G.C.V. & M sponsors a
Domestic skill Symposium 
yearly and offer many skills to learn!

The November air was sharp and a nippy 
but the sun shone brightly and set off a beautiful
display of  brilliant colors making for a backdrop
for inspiration and creativity!!

It was such a treat to walk through the quiet village
to the cabin that was holding our workshop!

This cabin was built in 1814 and brought to the village in pieces!!

Here are some pictures of the inside where we lunched



Beloved, I wish above all things
that thou mayest prosper
and be in health,
even as thy soul prospereth.
                                     3 John 1:2
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There were eight people in attendance

(Different mordant examples)
Dawn Hastings
getting the kettles ready !

Pitching in to start the fire!

After starting the fire the brass kettles were hung..

Filled with water

and then mordants of 
alum, tin, chrome, or iron
 were added to the water!


The spun wool was prepared and tied,

And then added to the pots

Indigo dye

Comes from the dye pot brilliant green 
but quickly turns deep blue as it
oxidizes !

Cochineal dye



We dipped and re-dipped and mixed many skeins
and were treated to so many colors


We picked off the yellow flower buds
into a large bowl and then they 
were wrapped into a a cloth, tied and dipped
into the mordanted heated water 
and mingled it with the skeins !

Black walnuts

 heating to dark brown


I decided to wear my Laura Ashley dress 
and an over skirt and petticoat! It kept 
me snug and warm on a very chilly day!


Genesee CountyVillage and Museum N.Y.


We all got to choose one skein to bring home
and I just love this deep blue that I picked!

The late Fraser McGrumply

I brought a little bit of  white wool
from one of my late sheep to the
workshop and we put it in the 
walnut water and then brought
 it home to dry but I was instructed to 
rinse it in amoena

I like the shade!

Poke Berry Pumpkin Dye


We brought home instructions for
dying with poke berries in an 
hollowed pumpkin!

So I gathered some berries from out back and I had some pumpkins,

and I thought I'd give it a try!!

Wrap the berries in muslim  

Then squeeze out the juice 

Wet the wool

(Spun wool from the late Fraser McGrumply)

saturate in the juice and put it in the pumpkin

poor in  the remaining juice and then cover
 and set aside for nine days

And a certain women named Lydia, 
a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira,
which worshipped God, heard us:
whose heart the LORD OPENED!
                                           Acts 16:14

I will be happily using these pots for my
outdoor dying in the future 

Not any noticed Mama Mousiekin and Missie 
at work doing their own natural dying

Mildred Mousiekin has been using her dying skills for many years!

Hope you enjoyed!!
Many blessings and warmth

Books that I recommend:

Indigo Madder and Marigold
by the late 
Trudy Van Stralen

Ang books or dvds by Rita Buchanan
are worth having but these are 
very helpful for natural dye information!

And there are many more books,
used or new on the subject!


Here are a few videos produced last year, 2015, 
by Jas Townsend & Son at the G.C.V.& M. Domestic Skill Symposium
A wonderful experience for those who are interested!  ENJOY:


  1. It is such a joy to see your lovely photos :0) as a spinner, my next step is dying with plants that grow so abundantly here in the mountains. In our Guild, we have dying day and we do it outdoors and enjoy ourselves immensely :0) Have a blessed week dear lady... mari

  2. and by the way...the best way to stay warm here in the mountains, is a skirt and petticoats, a handknitted shawl and half gloves :0) you look beautiful :D mari

  3. How exciting to see all the dyes and colors and the little cottage.. I enjoyed it all thank you for sharing.. Have a wonderful day with love Janice

  4. Oh how fun!!! I love your dress-you are so pretty! I also love the pokeweed color-I've got that plant around here-it's kinda cool looking. Hope you show what you will make with your wool....
    Love to you!

  5. You looked simply stunning in your Laura Ashley dress. Even though it was a cold day, I am sure that everyone had a wonderful time. Black walnuts do create the most lovely brown...my favorite color! I love your gorgeous photos!

  6. Oh I was waiting to see what MILDRED was going to come up with , and she did NOT disappoint! LINNIE! HELLO! I love everything about this post; my latest KICK and decorating crush is to go all natural in my decorations, from bleached pine cones to old wooden baskets, fur throws and pillows and real greens. There is something so earthy and calming about working with natural elements. These colors that are obtained from the earth's jewels are just gorgeous. I hope you are well my friend, and thank you for having come to my Instagram page! Happy holidays!

  7. What a wonderful post! Wish I could have been with right there watching the wool being dyed. I simply love your outfit. You look beautiful.

  8. I must say, Linnie, that Momma Mousiekin did an excellent job of dying her wool and so did you! That must have been very satisfying.

  9. As always you give such thorough information regarding a subject. This reminds me of my days of natural dyeing. I am dreaming of revisiting it once again in the near future. I wish I could be there dyeing away with you!

  10. Absolutely fascinating dear Linnie. What a joy to share all your wonderful photos from the day. I also got the biggest kick out of your little Mousiekin photos....delightful. How lucky you are to live where such crafts are honored and remembered. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Oooooooh this looks SO FUN. And that Indigo yarn you chose came out SO STUNNING! How did you all process the yarn with the indigo? The yarn Tasha and I did a while back left a bit of powdery residue on it after it was done, somewhere along the line we didnt do something right with those fibers--- although the cloth came out beautifully!
    Id love to do something like this one day....road trip! :D