This is a wonderful time of the year for dyers. There is such a huge collection of things to choose from to make colors and prints with. On the left is a photograph of 3 silk scarves that were all dyed/printed with Autumn leaves, bits of metal and cooked in an iron pot for an hour. The left scarf is a combination of wild cherry and maple leaves combined with rectangles of steel mesh used in stucco and plaster work. It almost looks reptilian.
The middle scarf is all maple leaves. This scarf barely showed any color or print at all until I dipped it in vinegar after dyeing. Then the leaf shapes and even some red color came up. The right scarf is maple and persimmon leaves folded into a long rectangle, then the rectangle was folded into triangles (like folding a flag) then clamped with steel binder clips on all edges before dyeing. These scarves were all simmered for an hour. They were placed in Ziplock bags immediately after removing from the pot and allowed to sit for 5 days. It is best to wait longer, but when using iron or steel metal parts, best to check after 3 days to make sure the reaction is not eating holes in your fabric. Five days seemed to be the max I would risk, so I took the bundles to a Natural Dye class I was teaching at the Pioneer Florida Museum, and I let the students open the bundles at the very beginning of class to show them where we were headed. They were thrilled, and I was very pleased with the results.