I live in the Midwest where black walnuts are in abundance this time of year. I felt super lucky when a friend of mine connected me with someone who has a black walnut tree in their yard and wanted to put them to good use. I gladly accepted as many as could fit in my freezer, politely declining the extra wheelbarrow full of them, and got to dyeing.
I fill the black walnut pot with warm water, then put it on high heat. I let the pot cook for about an hour then remove it from the heat. I then leave the walnut solution to soak overnight in order to extract as much color as possible.
The next day, I remove the hulls from the stock solution and get to dyeing! For this project, I'm color testing raw silk, one of my absolute favorite fabrics to dye. Raw silk has such a beautiful feel, and the uneven texture bounces light in a way that showcases the depth, and range of natural color. The silk has already been pre-mordanted with alum.
The dye bath is a stunning nutty brown color and it smells so fresh. I cook my silk in the dye bath for about 40 minutes, but you can give it more or less time depending on your final color goals.
I love the rich, earthy brown that we get from black walnuts, and I can't wait to play with the rest of the batch in my freezer!