Top to bottom. Dark purple iris, poppies, rusty nails.

Spring in Colorado has been amazing this year, and the flowers in my yard have really outdone themselves. Not every spring is like that around here. We have had late freezes that zap everything from my lilacs to the iris.

This abundance of flowering plants has coincided with references all around me to eco-dyeing and printing. This is the practice of extracting dyes from flowers and plants, which allows you to color fabrics without the nasty heavy-metal mordants used in other forms of dye. The resulting colors are more muted. In addition to collecting the flowers from my own yard, my neighbors have been very gracious about letting me deadhead their flowers.

So far I have used the deep purple iris to create wonderful shades of purples, blues, and greens, and the orange poppies yielded a beautiful pink. I also rusted some fabric using the nails we pulled out of the porch swing arbor when we rebuilt it earlier this spring.

The next batch of fabric is more of the purple iris and some yellow iris. I plan on letting these rest a little longer before I peek at them.

It’s like unwrapping a birthday present—always a pleasant surprise.