Two Easy and Inexpensive Home Dyes
by Catriona Fergusson
Only recently have I discovered the pleasure of home dyeing. These
two examples are from a batch of first attempts-- they worked well
I thought I would pass them along.
This recipe will dye about 2 oz of fiber with some left over dyestuff. With an alum mordant, a nice purple will result. With ammonia, I achieved an attractive grey-green.
1. Obtain about 2 pounds of blueberries from your grocer. I used frozen berries, which were fine, although I imagine fresh ones would be better. Place berries in a sturdy cheesecloth and secure. Place in a steel or enamel pot. (I strongly suggest you purchase a pot spoon, measuring sets, and a strainer to be used exclusively for dyeing to avoid food contamination) and add wafer to just cover the cheesecloth sack. Simmer. You will probably want to squeeze the sack with your spoon to help extract the juices.
2. While the blueberries simmer, mordent your fibers, which should be in a loosely tied skein. Use 2 tsp of alum (also available at grocer in spice section) per ounce of fiber. Add the alum to small amount of hot water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add fiber. Simmer about 1 hour. Remove fibers and drip dry but DO NOT rinse.
(If you choose to use the ammonia mordant, I found it works better if applied after the dyeing. Remove your purple fibers from the dyepot and give them a quick soak in the ammonia before rinsing. The color change is very rapid and impressive to watch.)
3. Add your alum-mordanted fibers directly to the dyebath. Add a little water if necessary to cover fibers completely. Simmer for about 1 hour or until color desired is achieved. To check, hold fibers up and out of dye. Let them drip a few moments, or squeeze gently with spoon.
4. Remove from dyebath and rinse with warm water, then cold. Dry thoroughly before using.
This recipe also dyed about 2 oz of fiber. An alum mordant will give a bright yellow.
1. Purchase about 25 chamomile teabags (health food stores sometimes sell them in bulk, much cheaper than the boxed variety). Add them to 8 cups of water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour.
2. Mordant with alum as above.
3. Again, add your mordanted fibers right to the dyebath. Simmer about one hour, rinse as above.
4. Dry well before use.
The blueberry dye (purple) worked well for the ikat technique.
Compleat Anachronist #41, Dyestuffs has a great listing of natural dyd materials and the colors they offer. For a list of techniques and equipment, consult Hands-On Dyeing, in a series published by Interweave Press. (ISBN: 978-0-934026-36-9)
Previous Article |
Next Article |
Back to Early Period #15 index
Back to Early Period Index |
Back to PastTimes