Solar dyeing is a dye technique which involves very little. Its a good way to dye scraps of fabric and threads for further use. After stuffing the fabrics – I put leaves in some of them as well – into old glass jars I poured some leftover dye liquids in: black tea, onion skin liquid, soaked eucalyptus bark liquid and marigold liquid from last year. I also layered some liquids on top of each other to achieve blended colours.

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt dyestuff and yarns

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
placed in jars, there is some prickle leftover which may affects the outcome

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffattsolar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt filled up with dyestuff

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
sitting on the window sill and waiting for the sun to come out. The hardest thing is to forget about them, they need to stay in the sun at least till after x mas


I have been resisting dyeing with kowhai flowers up to now because all parts of the plants are poisoning but also because the nectar is a preferred food source for tui and kereru. As I get more and more interested in natural dyes especially from New Zealand and flowers were abundant this year I decided to test the dye on a variety of natural fibres (silks, wool, muka and linen).

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattFreshly picked kowhai flowers

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattSoaked in water for a couple of days

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattBecause of the strange smell I did the boiling and dyeing outside.

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattSamples with alum as mordant, not very bright although I like the shades which can give a beautiful subtlety on silks.

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattSamples dyed with a piece of copper plate, not much different from the alum mordant samples.

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattSamples with iron as mordant, almost a taupe shade. Quite a bit disappointing as I expected much stronger colours but there are some nice shades among them.