They say that the art of dyeing, at least how our pioneers did it, is lost in this age of micro-chips and ready made everything! Not so!
Besides it's medicinal and edible qualities, Sumac berries give a lovely pink/beige dye for woollen fibre, cotton fibre or silk fibre. Linen fibre is difficult to dye, but it can be done by leaving it in the dyebath for longer periods of time. A darker tan colour can be had by boiling the stems (scrape off the bark first).
Everyone loves the fall colours of leaves, but they also give us their exact colours when boiled to make a dyebath - golden fall leaves will dye fibre a golden colour - red fall leaves will dye fibre a red colour. And because they are all fall colours that look so lovely together on the tree, they will look lovely together in the fibre they dye - imagine, a sweater made with the colour of fall leaves from the tree on the lawn! What a gorgeous blend!
Horse Chestnuts, acorns, walnuts, butternuts, or the bark from any nut trees will give lovely deep browns, and golden browns. These dyes are good strong dyes that will usually not fade.
To learn more about dyeing with wild plants you can order the book - click here.