What treasure lies within these nuts! Not only tasty nutmeats to make cookies and cakes, but the color of the earth is easily transferred to yarn, fabric, or basket making materials.
Walnut dyes have been used for centuries. The process is fairly simple..just takes some time and patience... and a walnut tree.
I dyed basket reed, 100% cotton fabric, and handspun wool yarn.
Step 1: Making the Dye
2. I used the whole nuts, as I was not going to process them for the nutmeats. If you want to use the nutmeats put on rubber gloves and remove the hulls from the nuts.
3. Place the hulls/walnuts in a cooking pot (one you only use for dyes--never to be used for cooking again) and cover with water.
4. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for an hour to two. I did this on a small butane burner outside, as it is rather smelly. Take off the heat and let the nuts soak over night.
5. Strain the liquid into another container.
6. Do not put the nuts or hulls in the compost pile, as the toxins will interfere with the growth of certain plants (mainly in the nightshade family--tomatoes, peppers, etc.)