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Tuesday, 5 January 2010
A gift to dye for!

Just before Christmas I received a package from Yuko in Japan which contained a tin and, inside the tin, I discovered a bundle of Japanese Cosmo threads and some wool threads too (not in the picture). I have been wanting to try Cosmo threads since reading about them on other blogs. They have a very soft feel to them; more like silk than cotton. I already have plans for both the tin and the threads - thank you Yuko for your generosity!

Last year when Valie came to visit, she carried across the English channel a bag of walnuts (black walnuts?) that she had harvested from her uncle's orchard. She told me that she makes 'walnut ink' from them and uses the ink to dye fabric. Yesterday, I boiled the walnuts, and left them in the liquid overnight. Today, I strained the liquid into an old coffee jar, complete with a snazzy label so that Ken does not attempt to drink it! I then took a piece of white 36ct linen and placed this in a tray containing the ink and left for 25/30 minutes. This is the result:

I now have a beautiful shade of walnut-dyed linen. Isn't it a gorgeous colour? I am definitely going to use this dye again. I am going to stitch the 'yet to be named' animal chart on this fabric with a brown Cosmo thread, probably the darker of the two shown and I can't wait to start but ... I must finish Beatrix - only the large motif to go now - if I put her aside now I will find it difficult to pick up again.

Thank you for the suggestions for a name for the animal chart. It is not yet decided!

Thanks for visiting
Take care


Photobucket posted by Carol R at 14:44 | Permalink | Photobucket


  • On 5 January 2010 at 16:22, Blogger Marnie

    O Carol - that walnut ink is just gorgeous! So warm and "real". Can't wait to see your animal design on it.

  • On 5 January 2010 at 16:28, Blogger Catherine

    Wow! I love the walnut ink - I may have to try and find some walnuts and try this!! I have done coffee and tea, but not walnuts! Those threads are brilliant!

  • On 5 January 2010 at 16:36, Blogger Melissa

    That walnut ink looks amazing. I've heard about using walnut shells but have never come across them here. I look forward to seeing what you stitch with it!

    Those Cosmos threads look lovely! What a lovely surprise from Yuko!

  • On 5 January 2010 at 16:57, Blogger Patti

    That price of fabric is literally to 'dye' for!!! It's gorgeous - save that ink. Ummm wonder where I can get some walnuts from? I know THE SUPERMARKET!!! Have fun stitching on that gorgeous malorgeous piece of linen.
    Patti xxx

  • On 5 January 2010 at 17:27, Blogger Barbara

    Carol what a fantastic dye, and the linen came out so lovely, the dye was so dark in the jar I thought it would make the linen much darker. Can't wait to see what you do with it. BarbM

  • On 5 January 2010 at 17:38, Blogger Nina

    Carolthis "ink" is perfect to dye! The results are so wonderful, I love this color of linen!

  • On 5 January 2010 at 17:42, Blogger Stitcher

    Wow, that's a wonderful colour.

  • On 5 January 2010 at 18:03, Blogger valerie

    Those threads are lovely...so colorful! And the fabric came out such a nice color after it's walnut bath! Can't wait to see the yet to be revealed animal chart! *hugs*

    Don't stop on BP!! You're almost done!

  • On 5 January 2010 at 18:30, Blogger Deb

    Your linen came out beautifully. I'm going to have to try to find some of those and try it out myself.

  • On 5 January 2010 at 19:05, Blogger Blu

    Wow! That fabric looks amazing! Have fun stitching on it.

  • On 5 January 2010 at 19:07, Blogger Angela

    Gosh Carol, how fascinating. I love the idea of making your own dye from walnuts. I shall definitely have a go and see what happens but i do think that the walnuts being black has something to do with it :>)
    Such pretty threads from Yuko. I love that brown colour.

    Good luck with Beaty, she's almost there. I think she would be quite amused to think of all the people who have stitched this design !!
    Angela xx

  • On 5 January 2010 at 20:23, Blogger Michele

    I'm drooling .. what a lovely color that turned out to be and it will look wonderful the the thread you want to use :)

  • On 5 January 2010 at 21:12, Blogger Berit

    Wow, wow wow!!

    I've been wanting to try walnut dyeing--how wonderful yours came out!!

  • On 6 January 2010 at 02:55, Blogger stitchinfiend

    Beautiful colour it turned out to be. Such a rich brown.

  • On 6 January 2010 at 02:55, Blogger Crazee4books

    Hi Carol,

    That walnut ink has created a
    wonderful color on that fabric.
    Very pretty. Can't wait to see
    how your design will look with
    the thread from Japan stitched
    on the pretty fabric color.

    Such gifts inspire creativity,
    which is a gift in itself.


  • On 6 January 2010 at 03:06, Blogger Shelleen

    oh wow, the fabric came out great.

  • On 6 January 2010 at 03:27, Blogger Yuko

    Wow, what a beautiful colour walnut ink made the thread!
    Good luck for the animal sampler!
    And enjoy Cosmo!! :D
    I'm very very looking forward to seeing your Tin project!!



  • On 6 January 2010 at 06:54, Blogger Brigitte

    What a nice gift from Yuko.
    I *love* the result of your walnut ink dying. What a wonderful soft brown you got out of it.

  • On 6 January 2010 at 11:31, Blogger VALIE

    The walnuts were actually regular walnuts (not black ones), only with the brownish residues of the rotting hull still clinging to the shell- this is what gives the colour! Walnuts that you buy in the supermarket have been cleaned - no way you can make ink out of them !
    If you then dry the linen in the microwave after soaking it in the ink, you will obtain a vintage finish - quite nice too !
    Can't wait to try the Cosmo threads.

  • On 6 January 2010 at 20:22, Blogger Suzanne

    The walnut ink gives me an idea. We go walnut picking at the end of march, so maybe I can save some for making my own ink. I love those beautiful threads.

  • On 7 January 2010 at 06:31, Blogger Kathy A.

    Carol - wht an absolutely gorgeous color that fabric turned out to be. Well done.