Friday, November 9, 2012

Ostara Egg dyes

Native American Dyes

Yellow Dye
Plant – Gaillardia "Indian Blanket" (Actinea gaillardia)
Harvest time – June
Material – Fresh flowers, leaves, stems
Vessel – Enamel or granite

Boil 1 pound of fresh material in 5 gallons of water for 2 hours.
Strain; add ¼ cup of raw alum to the water. Allow to dissolve by
boiling 10 minutes before adding 1 pound of wet yarn. Mix well and
boil the yarn for 2 hour. Steep overnight before rinsing several times.

Light Yellow Dye
Plant – Wild celery (pseudocymorpterus montanus0
Harvest time – June, July
Material – fresh flowers, leaves
Vessel – tin or aluminum

Boil 1 pound of wild celery in 5 gallons of water for 2 hours. Strain;
add ¼ cup of raw alum and boil for 10 minutes. Add 1 pound of we yarn
and boil 15 minutes before rinsing.

Rose dye
Plant – prickly pear cactus (Opuntia polycantha)
Harvest time – September
Material – fruit, fresh
Vessel – earthenware or enamel Kettle

Squeeze the juice from 2 pounds of cactus and strain into 3 gallons of
water. Add 1 pound of yarn and soak for 1 week in a warm location. Rub
the yarn daily. Rinse several times. To deepen the color, repeat the
process a second time.

Note-the Native Americans removed the spines by rubbing the cactus in
the sand

Purplish Brown Dye
Plant – Chokecherry (Prunus mlanocarpa) and Wild Plum (Prunus
Harvest time – Fall
Material – Fresh bark peeled from roots
Vessel – Earthenware or enamel

Soak 1 pound of each bark in 5 gallons of water overnight. Then boil 2
hours and strain. Add 1 pound of yarn and boil 2 more hours. Steep
overnight before rinsing.

Green Dye
Plant – Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium)
Harvest time – Fall
Material – Leaves and vines
Vessel – Granite

Boil 4 pounds in 5 gallons of water for 2 hours. Strain; add ¼ cup of
raw alum. Boil 10 minutes before adding 1 pound of yarn. Stir and
steep overnight before rinsing.

Tan Dye
Plant – Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja integer)
Harvest time – June, July
Material – fresh flowers
Vessel – Enamel or granite

Pour cold water to cover 4 pounds of flowers. Soak for 2 days and mash
the flowers. Add 1 pound of wet yarn and steep for 1 week, mixing the
yarn often. Rinse several times.

Orange Dye
Plant – Ground Lichen (parmelia molluscula)
Harvest time – Scraped from underneath sagebrush, especially after a
Material – Fresh or dried lichen
Vessel – Earthenware or granite.

Boil 1 pound of lichen in 4 gallons of water for 1 hour. Strain; add
cup of raw alum and boil 15 minutes before adding 1 pound of wet yarn.
Boil 30 minutes before rinsing. Boil longer and steep overnight to
produce a deeper orange or reddish color.

Salmon Red Dye
The Native Americans of New Mexico and Arizona dyed wet yarn in rain
water puddles in the red mesas. After a heavy rain, they would collect
the reddened water and add ½ pound of wet yarn to 4 gallons of water.
They boiled this for 4 hours to produce a salmon red dye.

Maroon Dye
The Hopi cooked 2-3 cups of sunflower seeds in 8 cups of boiling
water. After about 30 minutes the seeds split open, turning the liquid
a bluish maroon color. This would be strained and prepared with wet

Mother Nature's Herbal


Other Egg Dyes

Natural egg-dying is like recycling. It takes a little bit longer to do,
but gives you that "Oh-Im-soooooo-WC" (witchly correct) feeling.
Cover your plant material (see list below) with about 3 inches of water, bring to a boil,
and simmer until the colour looks good. You'll probably have to let the eggs sit in the dye
overnight, so if you're planning more than one colour per egg, start this a few days
before Ostara. Experimenting is half the fun, but here are some hints to get you started:

Yellows - daffodil petals, saffron, turmeric, onion skins
Blues - blueberries, red cabbage leaves & vinegar
Greens - broccoli, coltsfoot
Pinks - cochineal, madder root
Browns - walnut shells, tea, coffee

Want to get fancy? Gather some small leaves, ferns, flowers and grasses.
Dip them in water (to help them stick) and press them onto your eggs.
Wrap each egg in a piece of cut up pantyhose and secure it with a twist tie before dyeing.
When you remove the flower or leaf, it's design will appear (either in white or in your first dye-color).
Rub your finished eggs with a tiny bit of vegetable oil on a soft cloth to shine them.

Too hard? No hosiery?
Okay, try using crayons to draw spirals and pentagrams on the eggs before dying them.

Now, plan a fertility ritual for your garden.
Bury an Ostara egg in the east corner of your garden, or one egg for each direction,
or dig an entire circle for them (depends on how much you hate egg-salad).

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