Dyeing Quills with bloodroot


There seems to be a lot of information today about using natural dyes but most relate to dying fabric.I have had a really hard time finding information on using natural dyes for dying porcupine quills. I was experimenting a lot but had more failures than success .This is why I decided to document my experiences and then share with others to help the newbies while also giving myself a reference just in case the old memory should ever fail me. Right now I am dying with bloodroot.

I have found a nice patch on our farm this spring and have only dug a small amount.2 and1 /2 cups for this experiment. Along with the bloodroot I am using 3 cups creek water as I dont want the bloodroot dye to have any chlorine in it.



I washed the root and chopped it into small pieces along with the stems

I added 1/8 cup of salt for a mordant and boiled it for 10 minutes. I then turned it down to a simmer and added some quills

After 1 hour the quills were a nice yellow but not yet orange. I added 1 tablespoon of alum and simmered another 5 hours and left the quills in the dye bath overnight. They were a nice dark yellow but not yet the orange I wanted. I put them in the microwave at 1 minute intervals about 6 times and finally got an orange.


The next day I dug another 3 cups of bloodroot.I washed it and cut it up into small peices with stems and put in a blender with 3 cups water till it was a soupy mixture.I boiled it for 1 hour and added my blend from the day before .I added quills I had simmered in vinegar and within 1 hour I have achieved the  darker color than I had in over 5 hours with half the mixture.

I also found some great links that will give anyone interested in trying their hand at natural dyes some great advice.


Cherokee Natural Dyes

How To Dye With Bloodroot - All Fiber Arts


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