I mentioned that at my Colonial time class we dyed some fabric. We had a lot of fun doing it and it is something that I hope to do again. It is really quite easy and cheap and you can get some very pretty colors. I think it would be fun to make a quilt with hand dyed fabrics.
We used natural ingredients, onion peel, juneberries, raspberries and turmeric. We also tried purple cabbage leaves and carrot peels without much success. To make the dye we just put the berries or whatever in a bowl, added boiling water and let it sit until the water had changed color nicely. I then added a little cream of tarter (I guess the alum in it will work as a mordant- it makes the color stay in) and stirred it up. Then I put in the fabric to soak. I let some soak overnight and then some we just left in a few minutes and that worked as well. I wrung them out and then let them dry. They do seem to be color fast. I used all cotton fabric (it was some dress shirts that had gotten a stain on them.). There are many more natural dyes you can make, I have used tea before as well as tannin from acorns. I read that you can use Goldenrod and Marigolds and I was hoping to get some but they were all dead so I guess I will try next year.
Here are some links that tell more about making natural dyes:
~Pioneer thinking This one has I think the most complete list of plants and stuff you can use.
I am very much a beginner at this but enjoyed it. Have any of you ever done any dyeing?