purple basil

Once you get a taste for dyeing with plants, you start to question the potential of everything around you: plants in your garden and surrounding landscape, your fridge, your food cupboard and even your medicine cabinet if you’re into herbs! I recently bought a bunch of purple basil to infuse in oil and serve with baked vegetables; rather than leaving the remaining half-bunch to turn to sludge in the fridge, I simmered it in water for 45min, strained the leaves out and added some yarn pre-mordanted in alum and cream of tartar to see if any of the dark red of the dyebath would bond to it.

Purple basil on wool/ silk and wool

Purple basil on wool/ silk and wool

Interestingly, the wool/ silk took up a lot of colour, while the wool just a touch, whereas sometimes the opposite happens. I’m starting to think there must be affinities between certain plant pigments and certain fibres… or perhaps the capacity for bonding is pH-related. It’s an enigmatic art.

This entry was posted in dyeing, knitting and yarn, plants and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to purple basil

  1. Katie says:

    So beautiful! I love how up your yarn-speriments you are x

  2. sclues says:

    Jules, this looks absolutely beautiful. especially the wool/silk xx

  3. balanda says:

    Looks lovely! Is it Ocimum tenuiflorum/sanctum, also known as holy or thai basil? It’s being investigated in India as a commercial natural dye (green with iron, I’ve heard). I have got to harvest some of this and try it!

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