Another dye plant perfect for winter experiments is Eucalyptus. I have a few different trees growing near me. I have no idea which these are, just know they are different looking at the leaves. There are over 35 varieties of eucalyptus in England alone and over a thousand in the world so I can barely even touch the surface of their dye possibility. The colours can range from yellow, brown to orange and red.
First experiments I conducted are with a small plant I have growing in my garden. I carried it home from Columbia Road flower market two years ago. In that time its doubled in height. I picked a handful of leaves for my dyepot as I don’t want to disturb the tree too much as it’s still young
Second tree I found growing near my daughters school and one drop off morning, I happened up some fallen branches. I am sure I get odd looks from other parents when I stopped to collect these on the way to class.
There is another tree nearby the riverside hanging on to the road from a church yarn. The winter storms have been good for a dyer as there too there were plenty of fallen leaves on the ground. These last two trees both have long thin leaves, but I still did separate dye baths.
I am concentrating on dyeing with the leaves although you can dye with the bark also. Eucalyptus needs a long extraction so I simmered all baths for two hours and then left these to sit for two days. I left the leaves in while I added the fibres to improve the colour. I simmered the fibres slowly for two hours and left to cool in the bath until the next day.
All samples were unmordanted and I used various fibres.
The samples above are very pink. The two wool swatches on the right have different dye lengths as I left the one lower on in the dye bath for a week. The colours are strong orange and I hope to find more of these leaves to continue experimenting.
In the last bath, the leaves had had a chance to dry out a little before I picked them. I don’t know if this had an effect on the colour, which was all around light brown.