To be honest, I was a little surprised when I read that rhubarb could be used for dyeing. We inherited a big, old patch of it and while I've always cooked and eaten the stems the rest of it seemed, well, a bit uninteresting. Clearly I was wrong!
The internet tells me that no mordant is needed, as the rhubarb leaves themselves act as mordant, so I tonight I made a dyebath of leaves and chopped root. It's toxic, but smells delicious.
I took the opportunity to completely plunder the poor plants and stewed up all the stems with ginger and a little sugar.
Rhubarb is such a hard worker. These plants are definitely elderly and could really do with an overhaul, but for now they continue to shoot up and up and up...
first picking of stems and leaves, 10 May 2016
1kg of root (washed and chopped), 900g into the freezer
big bag of leaves into the freezer
dyebath: 100g fresh root, 120g fresh leaves, water to cover, simmer for 1 hour and left to cool overnight