Madder Dye Cut or ground ~ Dye Colour a variety of reds including orange, browns, reds, brick red, blood red and fiery reds.
*Collected in the Wild of Iran
The colour depends on a variety of conditions, like the soil the roots where grown, their age, the mineral content of the water used for dyeing, the temperature of the dye pot, and how much madder you use in relation to fiber. Many dyers suggest mordanting the wool just with alum and not to use cream of tartar as well, but that is your own choice and why not try to experiment a bit? Like with any dyeing, you will need to soak the fiber overnight or for a few hours before adding them to the dye pot for both hot and cold dyeing. You can dye with madder either cold or with heat; some dyers use chalk or cream of tartar to get better reds.
100 grams dried madder roots (soaked overnight and blended if possible or use ground) 100 grams mordanted (Alum) fiber (50 grams for darker reds or 300 grams for lighter colors) 7 to 10 liters of water 6 grams calcium carbonate (chalk) or cream of tartar, if using
Soak the roots in the dye pot over night Bring o 65 degrees Celsius for one hour for reds, higher temp. will go more brown Strain through cloth Add yarn and dye bag to dye pot Keep on 65 - 95 degrees Celsius for one hour
**IMPORTANT: The higher the temperature the darker the colour.
The advantage in dyeing with Indigo is, that no mordant is needed. The water doesn't need to be heated to more than 40 degrees Celsius and a little goes a long way. We can dye 3-4 kg of Wool using 50g of Indigo.
There are many ways of dyeing with Indigo. Below you will find the recipe for a yeast vat. For a straight forward no-waiting-required approach, you can use Hydros as an oxygen remover. Waiting time approx. one hour.
Colourfastness: Excellent for dark colours, good for lighter colours
Basic Recipe ~
It is possible to create a vat fromindigo,lime (calcium hydroxide)and over-ripe fruit such as bananas or dates that relies on the chemistry of the sugars* rather than fermentation of the fruit.But it’s easier to simply use fructose shared in
For 500gr wool etc. at one time . (amount can be repeated several times using the same bath)
dye container with lid separate pot for the water bath to add the container 110gr sugar 50gr dried yeast with out preservatives etc. 30gr bicarbonate of soda 40gr ground Indigo thermometer
This Method requires the dye bath to be on a constant 40 degrees Celsius and shouldn't exceed 50 degrees Celsius. Ideally put the dye pot in a water bath on a wire rack to ensure even distribution of temperature.
Fill pot with 9l of water and heat to 40 degrees Celsius.
Mix sugar and yeast and add to the water. Leave until dissolved and bubbly.
Dissolve soda in a glass with hot water and add the dye, stir until smooth. Add to yeast mixture.
Close lid and ideally put into a bin bag, you want it as air locked as possible. Leave at steady temperature for 8 hours.
Lift lid and stir carefully until all the foamed Indigo has returned into the dye. Try to stir as little air into it as possible.
Close the pot up again and leave for 48 hours until the water is yellow green.
The water will show a metallic shimmer on the surface when ready. Carefully stir it back in.
Add the damp but not mordanted wool etc. make sure all are under the water add a plate or a metallic disc to press the wool etc. under the surface. Whatever swims at the top will be unevenly dyed.
Close it up and leave for 6 -12 hours.
Remove wool etc. and press out back into the dye bath.
Open wool etc. and leave exposed for at least 60min. All should turn blue.
If you prefer a deeper blue add it to the dye bath again and repeat step 9.
Wash twice with a mild soap, then rinse 4-5 times using vinegar in the last bath.
Hang up and air for a few days or weeks.
You can repeat this dyeing process using the same dye bath several times.
Origin: Canary Islands, Spain. Organically farmed and processed by Canaturex ~ www.canaturex.com
I am so delighted to have finally found some organic Cochineal. Lorenzo is one of the very first offering organic fully traceable Cochineal.
Cochineal is a powerful dye - made from small insects feeding of cacti. The reds and pinks created from this tiny insects are astounding and breathtaking. From deep rich full bodied reds to light fairy like pinks can be created by only one dye bath.
Cochineal will always dye pinks on plant based fibres.
*Cochineal is the small insect, of which the most commonly cultivated species is Dactylopius. The body of the insect is made of 19–22% carminic acid.
**It takes about 80,000 to 100,000 insects to make one kilogram of cochineal dye. The two principal forms of cochineal dye are cochineal extract, a colouring made from the raw dried and pulverized bodies of insects, and carmine, a more purified colouring made from the cochineal.
Soak Cochineal in Water overnight blend using a stick blender
Add dye to dye bath Bring to a simmer Remove any black tar like bubbles
Strain through a cloth and keep to the side Add yarn to bath simmer for one hour.
Add dye bag to second and any following dye baths.
WELD (RESEDA) DYE
Reseda or Dyer's Weld is a Mediterranean herb and the oldest yellow dye plant in the world. Reseda alongside Madder, Woad and Chamomile produce the very best natural dyes for temperate areas.The famous medieval colours, Saxon green and Lincoln green, were produced by over-dyeing Reseda yellow with Woad blue. Lincoln green was apparently the colour of the clothing of Robin Hood's men.
Black Walnut Shells ~ Dye Colour Earthy light and dark browns
*Cultivated in the USA
Black Walnuts are a pleasure to dye with, the first dye bath will give a beautiful deep earthy brown colour and the second dye bath a light brown. Black Walnut Dye works best on silk and wool fibres.
Black Walnut is used in many different areas from dye to cosmetics to medicine.
50% ground or 100% whole Black Walnuts Soaked overnight
After you have soaked the Walnuts in cold water overnight bring to 80 degrees Celsius for one hour.
Strain out the shells/powder and add mordanted fibre/fabric.
bring to 80 degrees for 1 hour. Leave overnight or 12 hours for deeper results.
Rinse and dry.
TARA - Natural Tannin
TARA POWDER ~ is a natural tanning product
Grown in the mountains of Peru.
Tara powder will stain the fibres grey and it is recommended to use a strong dye so the colour isn't too influenced. I am using it for plant dyed flax fibres and LinCot yarns and found, that it actually adds some more depth to the colour.
100% cut Rhubarb or 50% ground Rhubarb Wool (mordanted with Alum)
Optional: 3-5% Iron 15% Soda Ash
Myrobalan ~ Natural Tannin
MYROBALAN ~ a tannin used for (pre) mordanting cellulose (Cotton, Linen) Fibres. Recipe below.
Myrobalan is a very common tannin used in India and around Asia. It creates a plum-like fruit from various trees of the genus Terminalia, formerly used in medicine as a mild laxative and now used in the dyeing industry.
Myrobalan creates butter yellow on fabric, like most tannins. Tannin is important for mordanting cellulose fibres like cotton and linen. Alum alone is not a suitable mordant for cellulose fibres and its use will produce inferior colours.
Myrobalan can be used in print, over dye with indigo for teal, use as a stand alone colour or as a mordant.
A 2 step process, please read through the entire instructions first.
10% Myrobalan (10% of the weight of fabric (w.o.f.))
1.Fill a plastic or stainless steel vessel with hot water (40-50 d. Celcius/100-120F) to a 30:1 ratio (water:fabric)
2. add tannin and stir until dissolved or evenly distributed
3. add fabric, immerse fully for 1-2 hours. The bath will cool down, which is totally fine. Stir occasionally.
4. use rubber gloves when removing fabric, squeeze fabric. Rinse very lightly or better spin it out using a centrifugal spinner or washing machine. Tannin is bound to the fibre only by affinity and can be removed if rinsed aggressively.
5. save mordant for future use.
6. don't let it dry before moving to the 2nd mordanting step.
Ingredients: Alum 12% (w.o.f.) Dissolved in enough boiling water, cool. Soda Ash 1.5% (w.o.f.) Dissolve in enough boiling water, cool.
1. Combine the two solutions while stirring. It will bubble, so make sure your vessel is big enough.
2. Bubbles will subside quickly and you should be left with a clear liquid. Add additional hot water as described above. Follow steps 3 - 5 from above.
3. Rinse the textile well, to make sure any unattached mordant is rinsed off.
4. The textile may be dyed immediately or dried for future use.
*Too hot and the tannin will oxidize, which is fine, if you want a potentially darker colour. For overdyeing, it is best to keep the colour as light as possible. ** You can also use cold water instead of hot, but it will require a 12h soak at least. ***Any tannin can be used with this recipe, but for lighter results use Oak Gall or Tara.
LAC DYE ~ Dye colours violet to red to brown
Lac is a powerful dye and probably mostly know in relation to the Tibetan Monks' Tunic - all dyed with Lac. It doesn't have the brilliance of cochineal red, but a much more mature red, like wine.
*Lac is the scarlet resinous secretion of a number of species of lac insects, of which the most commonly cultivated species is Kerria lacca.
**Cultivation begins when a farmer gets a stick (brood lac) that contains eggs ready to hatch and ties it to the tree to be infested. Thousands of lac insects colonize the branches of the host trees and secrete the resinous pigment. The coated branches of the host trees are cut and harvested as stick lac.
The harvested stick lac is crushed and sieved to remove impurities. The sieved material is then repeatedly washed to remove insect parts and other soluble material. The resulting product is known as seed lac. The prefix seed refers to its pellet shape. Seed lac which still contains 3–5% impurities is processed into shellac by heat treatment or solvent extraction. (Wikipedia)
Add water to the dye, add tartaric acid and bring to the boil. Keep on a good simmer for 60min. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with cloth and returning the liquid back to the pot, tying the dye bag and add that one too. When cool enough add your dye stuff and heat to 80 Degrees Celcius for an hour. You can let it continue to cool in the pot until your required colour depth is reached, from 1/2 hour to overnight.
Add Soda Ash for a leafy green.
Rinse when finished.
Colours shown in the last pictures are Elderberry on our Yeti yarn (Yak & Silk Yarn)
SAFFLOWER DYE ~ lovely soft yellow and red
*Grown and harvested in Iran
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) is a highly branched, herbaceous, thistle-like annual plant. It is commercially cultivated for vegetable oil extracted from the seeds. Plants are 30 to 150 cm (12 to 59 in) tall with globular flower heads having yellow, orange, or red flowers. Each branch will usually have from one to five flower heads containing 15 to 20 seeds per head. Safflower is native to arid environments having seasonal rain. It grows a deep taproot which enables it to thrive in such environments. (wikipedia)
Safflower can give a lovely warm red, but it doesn't dye red on wool. First you have to knead the safflower in water for a long time, discarding the yellow dye regularly until the water turns red. It is a long process, but worth the effort. It will dye Linen, Cotton and other plant fibres.
Colourfastness: poor - medium ------------------ Basic Recipefor yellow
100g dye, soaked in water overnight. 100g mordanted yarn/fibre (Alum 15g)
Bring pot with dye to simmer For 1h. Strain through cloth, add yarn/fibre and dye bag to dye bath for 1h. Rinse.
ORGANIC BUCKTHORN BARK ~ available at wholesale prices
To achieve reds and pinks, the PH needs to be increased to 10-11 (alkaline). Keep in mind to always use PH neutral soap with PH sensitive colours. This dye gives a good green when iron is added and was used traditionally to make artist paint.
Ph Sensitive Dye
65g bark, soaked in water for 2 days. 100g mordanted yarn/fibre (Alum 13g)
Bring pot with dye to simmer For 2h. Strain through cloth, add yarn/fibre and dye bag to dye bath for 1h. Rinse.
ORGANIC ANNATTO SEED DYE
ORGANIC ANNATTO SEEDS ~ Dye Colour Yellow and Orange
Harvested in the Wild of Côte D'Ivoire
Wool, Silks, Cotton and Linen can be dyed successfully with Annatto Seeds. It gives a radiant yellow orange. If you combine the dye bath with Cochenial you get brilliant reds and rose-red colours.
*The dye is not very light fast and might have to be redyed after a few years. However, combined with Cochenial, it will hold out longer.
**Use Cream of tartar and Cochenial for orange red colours. Pre dye silks with madder root, then add to an Annatto bath to make a beautiful copper orange. A yolk yellow can be achieved using tartaric acid and Annatto seeds.
Colourfastness: Poor - medium -------------
Basic Recipe for yellow:
*You can use this bath again for a yellow orange and a light yellow orange, with every further dip the dye will be less vibrant. **It is worthwhile soaking the Wool in a vinegar bath for 10 minutes before dyeing.
100gr wool or silk mordanted in 15% Alum and 10% Cream of Tartar for 1 hour. 100g Annatto Seeds
1.Soak 100gr Annatto seed with 10gr Soda in water over night. 2.Blend in a mixer and simmer for 1 hour. Pour mixture through a cloth, tie off the seeds (dye bag) and keep the dye bath.
3.To dye: Add the silk for 20 minutes at 80 degrees. Simmer wool for one hour without the dye bag.
Add the silk again for another 15min. Wash and rinse.
FUSTIC HARDWOODDYE, Dyer's Mulberry ~ Dye Colour yellow and green
Fustic was introduced into Europe in the 16th century. It is a viable source of yellow, creating clear bright yellows to greens when overdyed with indigo. Made from the hardwood of Chlorophora or Morus tinctoria, this tree is part of the Mulberry family.
Fustic is extremely strong and only 25% of dye (W.D.F) is needed. Once dyed, the wood chips can be dried and re used again another time.
Colourfastness: poor to medium
25% Fustic cut
Mordant yarn by dissolving Alum in hot water, add yarn and leave overnight.
Pour hot water over the woodchips and leave steeping overnight.
The next day:
Rinse mordanted yarn.
Strain dye and dry for another day.
Add yarn to dye bath, heat to 85C for 1hour.
Rinse and dry yarn.
*When using the dye again, boil it for 45min, the yellow will be darker.
**You can change the colour to olive green by adding 3% Iron.
*** Creates lovely clear greens when overdyed with Indigo
The Magic of Maya Blue ~ a turquoise pigment made from indigo and praised for its resistance to aging. First discovered and extensively used by the pre-Columbian Mayan and Aztec People the recipe and even the knowledge of this fantastic brilliant turquoise colour was lost for many centuries. When the colour was re discovered on archaeological digs, the puzzling question on how to create this pigment was finally solved by Michel Garcia, who created a recipe that could be made in the studio.
Maya Blue ~ made with organic Indigo, is a turquoise blue pigment that can be used for printing and painting on paper or fabric. It is not suitable for dyeing. Mayan Blue pigment is extremely light and age resistant and therefore suitable for paintings and wall hangings.
Mixed with a binder it can be applied to fabrics, canvas or strong paper.
First make your own Soya Milk
(much richer in enzymes than store bought)
25g dry soya beans
500ml water + extra to soak the beans overnight
Soak the beans overnight.
Strain and rinse well.
Add the beans to a blender and blend with 500ml of cold water for about 5-7min. Strain and squeeze out through a muslin cloth.
Fresh Soya milk will only last 2-3days in the fridge.
Brush your canvas with soya milk - Let dry flat or on the line, you don't want any cracks. Make sure you apply the pigment within a week while the enzyme are still fresh.
Combine the pigment with a little soya milk: 1part pigment 3 parts soya milk
Add stones or marbles to the jar and stir vigorously, crushing the pigment into smaller pieces and hydrating it evenly throughout.
You can add guar gum to thicken it, but it is optional.
Apply the lovely pigment with a brush, stencil, roller or however you want to work it.
Allow the pigment to dry for 1-2weeks. Now rinse gently to remove any excess Pigment and soya milk. This is a surface application and vigorous washing may remove more pigment than desired.
KAMALA DYE ~ Dye Colour Yellow and Green
*Collected from the wild of India
The powdery coating of the seeds of the Kamala Tree (Mallotus philippinensis), also known as the Monkey Face Tree, produces bright yellows and oranges and greens.
Also used in Ayuverdic medicine, this Kamala powder is for dyeing purposes only.
***Sunflower yellow (add some washing Soda to dye bath) is the closest I can think of, to describe the colour obtained by Kamala. You can influence the nuances by adding different mordants or over dye with indigo for green.
Mordanted Wool (Alum 10%) 100% Kamala
Add Kamala to dye bath bring to a simmer for one hour Strain through Cloth Add wet wool to the dye bath and simmer for one hour with dye bag.
ALKANET ~ Dye Colour: Purple, grey
*Cultivated in India
**The dye colour goes more into a purple blue grey, but it depends on how you extract the dye and what mordants you use.
***Please be aware that you will need to extract the dye with alcohol to achieve true purples.
Below is an extract from Wikipedia which describes the colour as red...Time to experiment!
Alkanna tinctoria, the dyer's alkanet or alkanet, is a herb in the borage family. Its main notability is its roots are used as a red dye. The plant is also known as dyers' bugloss, orchanet, Spanish bugloss or Languedoc bugloss. It is native in the Mediterranean region.
Alkanna tinctoria has a bright blue flower. The plant has a dark red root of blackish appearance externally but blue-red inside, with a whitish core. The root produces a fine red colouring material which has been used as a dye in the Mediterranean region since antiquity. The root as a dyestuff is soluble in alcohol, ether, and the oils, but is insoluble in water. It is used to give colour to wines and alcoholic tinctures, to vegetable oils, and to varnishes.
Powdered and mixed with oil, the alkanet root is used as a wood stain. When mixed into an oily environment it imparts a crimson color to the oil, which, when applied to a wood, moves the wood color towards dark-red-brown rosewood, and accentuates the grain of the wood.
Alkanet is traditionally used in Indian food under the name "Ratan Jot", and lends its red colour to some versions of the curry dish Rogan Josh. In Australia alkanet is approved for use as a food colouring, but in the European Union it is not.
It has been used as colorant for lipstick and rouge (cosmetics).
In alkali environments the alkanet dye has a blue/purple color, with the color changing again to crimson on addition of an acid. The colour is red at pH 6.1, purple at 8.8 and blue at pH 10. Hence, it can be used to do alkali-acid litmus tests (but the usual litmus test paper does not use alkanet as the agent and its colour change is closer to pH 7).
The colouring agent in Alkanna tinctoria root has been chemically isolated and named alkannin.
Catechu, or better known as Cutch, is a powdered dye which results in beautiful brown tones. It can be used for Cotton, silk and wool Fiber.
Cutch contains two dyes, catechu-tannic acid, which is soluble in cold water, and catechin, which needs hot water to dissolve.
*Catechu is apparently very good for eczema.
200gr wool (mordant optional see note below)
20gr of Cutch extract made into paste with boiling water (keep on adding, tends to be sticky)
Add to dye pot (hot water) and simmer, stir regularly; Add the wool and simmer for 1 hour, leave overnight. The longer, the deeper the colour of the dye. Leave wool out to oxidize before rinsing.
*Several more skeins can be added later for lighter colours. Catechu is difficult to exhaust
**mordant wool with Alum for brighter results, but it will also dye a nice browns without any mordant.
***use Iron for darker results
OAK MOSS ~ Dye colour Champange Beige to Brown
*Oak Moss from responsibly harvested forests in Mazedonia.
Champagne is the closest colour I can think of to describe the colour obtained by Oak Moss. You can influence the nuances by adding different mordants, but generally no mordant is necessary. Oak Moss is also used for Soap making to add texture and scrub to the soap.
From Wikipedia Evernia prunastri, also known as Oak Moss, is a species of lichen. It can be found in many mountainous temperate forests throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of France, Portugal, Spain, North America, and much of Central Europe. Oak moss grows primarily on the trunk and branches of oak trees, but is also commonly found on the bark of other deciduous trees and conifers such as fir and pine. The thalli of oak moss are short (3–4 cm in length) and bushy, and grow together on bark to form large clumps. Oak moss thallus is flat and strap-like. They are also highly branched, resembling the form of deer antlers. The colour of oak moss ranges from green to a greenish-white when dry, and dark olive-green to yellow-green when wet. The texture of the thalli are rough when dry and rubbery when wet. It is used extensively in modern perfumery.
A basic Recipe:
50% oak moss or more wool/yarn ~ no mordant needed
Simmer moss for 3 hours. Strain through Cloth.
Add wet wool to the dye pot.
Let it simmer for 1h, cool and leave overnight.
Rinse and dry.
NETTLE CUT ORGANIC
ORGANIC NETTLES ~ Used as herb and dye. Dye Colour yellow and green.
Country of Origin: Hungary
Urtica Fol. Organic, often known as common nettle, stinging nettle or nettle leaf, or just a nettle or stinger, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Urticaceae. Originally native to Europe it has now spread worldwide.
Nettles have been used since ancient times and can be eaten, are used in herbal medicine and dyeing.
Nettles can be used fresh and dry - similar to Lovage, the best results are achieved with fresh plants, but dried plant material works well as well.
100-200% Nettle (100% if using fresh only) 3-5% Iron Wool (mordanted 10% Alum)
Line the pot with a cloth. Fill the pot half with water and add the nettle. Bring to about 85-95 degrees Celsius for 1 hour.
Tie dye in Cloth and leave in bath. Add wool and simmer gently for 1 hour.
POMEGRANATE PEELS ~ CUT & GROUND ORGANIC ~ can be used as Tannin and as yellow dye
The pomegranate is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub in the family Lythraceae, subfamily Punicoideae, that grows between 5 and 10 m tall. The pomegranate originated in the region extending from Iran to northern India and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region.
Colourfastness: good - excellent
For how to mordant your Cellulose fibres, please see my blog post