ALUM MORDANT ~ necessary for most plant dyes to ensure colour fastness.
Alum is considered the least harmful or safest when it come to mordants used in plant dyeing. What many don't know is that Alum occurs naturally in nature and some plants, like horsetail, contain Alum.
*Alum has long been used as an additive to both foods and drinking water.
Weigh your DRY textile material.
ALUM: Divide the weight of the material to dye by four. Weight out that much alum mordant. A scant two tablespoons equals one ounce of alum.
Add Alum to the pot, and almost fill with warm water. Leave enough room to add the wet textile material. Stir until fully dissolved.
*You can leave the wool in for 24- 72 hours - cold mordanting.
** Or you can heat to 80 degrees Celcius for one hour.
Rinse and dry.
SODA ASH ~ To change colour (PH indicator) and scouring cellulose fibres
No natural Dye Studio can do without Soda Ash. It may be used in small amounts to alter PH or used for scouring cellulose fibres. Soda Ash is alkaline and used to increase the PH in a dye bath as well as in an Indigo Vat.
In general Soda Ash can be dissolved in the hot dye bath. It helps to increase the PH of the bath.
Oak Gall - harvested from the wild in Turkey
Oak Gall, also known as oak apple was and is still used for making ink. We use it as a fibre Mordant, due to its high tannin content. Unlike other tannin, it doesn't stain the fibre.
Oak Gall is available as whole, cut or ground.
HYDROS ~ is the colour or oxygen remover used for indigo or woad vats.
Dithionite can replace Spectralite ( basically the same, but you would need less and it is more expensive).
A 10L Indigo Vat requests up to 50g of Hydros.
* Sprinkle over the Dye Vat to remove Oxygen - the Vat should turn a yellow green.
**Please be aware, that this is a chemical and to avoid a chemical reaction allways add Hydros to water and not Water to Hydros.
***Other words for Hydros: Sodium Dithionite, Thiourea dioxide, Thiox, Hydrosulfite Sodium.
IRON MORDANT ~ Mordant, Colour Changer, increased light fastness
Iron (Ferrous Sulfate) is used alone as a mordant, influencing Colours and to increase light fastness when used in combination with other natural dyes.
Iron is best known for shifting yellows into greens, keep in mind that this is not given and doesn't work with every yellow plant dye, in which case it will be more of a brown. it is used to increase light fastness for weaker plant dyes, bu it will always sadden and/or darken the colours.
When adding Iron to your dye bath start of with 3% and use it at the end of your dye bath or as an after bath. Allow to oxidize for 10 min for full colour development.
*If you like your colours darker, increase the Iron amount by 1-2% at a time.
**Leave for 10min than remove from dye bath - Iron will make wool brittle.
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 all our plant dyed flax fibres and LinCot yarns and found, that it actually adds some more depth to the colour.
Using 20% Alum to weight of fibre,
Using 10% Tara Powder to weight of fibre,
Use clean, scoured wool fleece, Cotton or Linen.
Weigh the yarn or clean, dry fibre.
Fill a large pot with clean water and heat, mix the Alum into the hot water and place the Tara Powder into a nylon stocking or small bag - add to pot.
Rinse the wool so that it is damp.
Add the wool or skeins of yarn into the hot Alum/Tara mixture.
Make sure that the wool is all covered by the water, if not, add more water to the pot.
Simmer the mordant mixture for about an hour at 90 degrees Celsius.
Remove the yarns from the mordant mixture.
The Alum/Tara mixture can be reused by adding 1/2 the amount of Alum and Tara powder as previously stated.
*This recipe can also be used without heating, by leaving the fibre/yarn to soak in the water for 24h.
CREAM OF TARTAR ~ To change colour (PH indicator) and soften fibre
Cream of Tartar, also known as potassium bitartrate, is produced by fermenting grape juice. It is used to acidify the dye bath to effect a colour change, and in mordanting to soften wool fibers.
In general Cream of tartar can be dissolved in the dye bath. It helps to lower the PH of the bath.
PH of Cream of tartar is 5.
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