It is always a good moment when I am offered a book to review that is right up my street. Seasonal Plant Dyes is just such a book. I have not paid for this book and I have not been paid for writing this review. My words and opinions are as always, my own.
I have been growing woad in my garden for many years (it self seeds easily, once you have it, you have it for life); but I have never used it to make dye. As people who know me will also know, when not in the garden I spend a fair amount of my time making my own clothes. A book that brings together fabric and gardening has to be high on my list of books I want to read. I realised on opening the book that my assumptions were limited by my knowledge. I thought I had one or two possible dye plants in my garden, I quickly found out I had many.
Lets go back a step: this book is detailed, practical and informative. Alicia begins by talking us through how to harvest plants. Then there is the very useful section on fabrics and their different characteristics. You are not going to be able to successfully dye and use fabric unless you understand the fabric itself.
You are talked through every stage of the process including how to use soya milk as a mordant (I was so glad we were not going to have to have to use pee as a mordant....).
Then there are sections on which plants to use that can be harvested at different times of the year and some simple projects you can make.
I found this book incredibly exciting, I read it quickly and avidly and then had to pick it up and read through it again more carefully. I am now absolutely determined to dye my own fabric this year and I shall report back.
Seasonal Plant Dyes by Alicia Hall is published by Pen and Sword White Owl.