Dyeing with Cleome

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Last year, I planted these plants.  I couldn’t remember what they were.  Surprisingly they took over the back of one of our landscapes.  They are really neat flowers.  Their flowers turn into seeds and each individual stalk continues to grow.  I am not anywhere near a person who is knowledgeable in gardening or flowers, but I thought this was quite unique.  I decided to pick off the flower heads and use them to dye wool.  Upon doing so, my fingers were covered in a sticky mess.  I had to wash my hands multiple times to get the “stickiness” to go away.  Not only that, but the main stalk of each plant is protected by thorns, not unlike those found on rose bushes.  Anyway, today I decided to start my journey into dyeing with cleomes.  Cleomes are also known as Spider Flower, Rose Queen, Cleome spinosa, Cleome hasslerana 

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About jmhaag

It's hard to describe myself without saying things that don't really define me. I don't mean to get all deep and crap, but I am a mom, a wife, a daughter and a sister. I have chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, possibly Lyme disease. But I am so much more then that. I am a creator, an artist, an observer, a person trying to figure it all out while still enjoying life. I am driven to find a purpose meant for me by God, and to live fully in His light and love.

3 responses »

  1. Oh, just googled Dyeing with Cleomes and found you 😉 Could you tell me how I might go about dyeing with this plant. I am new to the eco-dyeing so any tips would be wonderful. I will be using protein fibers, wool and silk. Thank you so much for any help.

    • Hi Dawn, I am glad you found me online! Dyeing with natural element is so interesting. I have to admit that I have taken a bit of a leave for the past few months, but I will be getting back into the swing of things soon. With the cleome, I picked off the flower heads and collected them until I had the amount I needed. I also dye with wool. I haven’t dabbled too much in cottons or other plant materials simply because I am still experimenting with different wools. Anyway, with flowers, I typically gather enough until I have a one to one ratio with the amount of wool I have. With cleome, the flowers are continually growing, so collection takes a little bit of time. What I have found works best is to put the flower petals into a freezer bag, or a paper bag and throw them in the freezer until I have enough. I weigh the flower petals or heads each time and add them to the previous pickings. Once I have enough, I put in enough water to cover the flowers, boil the water then I let the flower heads sit in the water, typically overnight or until the water is cool enough. Using mordanted wool, I would then dye the wool after straining the flower heads much like any other dye process. Good luck! I hope that I was of some help.

      • Thank you so much for all of the information which will be very helpful.I will certainly look forward to following your blog. Thanks again so very much, Dawn

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