Natural dying

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Chickun
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Natural dying

Postby Chickun » Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:23 pm

I have some very light yellow twill woven wool that I'd like to over dye. It has currently been chemically dyed), and I thought that rather than using chemical dye would it that much more difficult to use something like say weld? Is it something that I could do at home - I have heard that it can be done in the washing machine?

I'm assuming that I'd need a large container and a heat source? Any help would be appreciated!


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kate/bob
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Postby kate/bob » Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:32 pm

I've not been doing dyeing that long, but have managed to get some pretty good colours so far.

I'm going to try weld this weekend, but it appears that with an alum mordent you should get bright yellow on wool if you dye in a ph neutral pot (I use pottery).

It takes a lot longer than doing it in the machine. You'll need to clean to wool first. I use hand wash solution and that appears to work fine.

Then you need to mordent it. I dissolve the alum in a little bit of warm water, then add it to the water in the pot with the wool. Then bring it very slowly up to about 80% and keep it there for a while. Let this cool down slowly.

Then you need to make the dye bath. It depends on the dye you're using as to how you do this. Some need to be heated, some don't.

Once you've done all of this you're ready to dye! The dyes I've used the process is very similar to the mordanting.

It is a long drawn out process, but it's very exciting when you pull out your wool and it's a pretty colour!!!

I'll report back next week about my weld experiment!



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sally
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Postby sally » Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:51 pm

I do weld in the washing machine all the time. Start by washing your wool with just a touch of detergent on the hottest cycle it will take to get it squeaky clean. Whilst it runs, chop up at least a pint measure of weld, more if you have plenty of it growing locally. If its fresh, it will be fine as is, if its dry, add a splash of hot water and let it soak and soften. Stuff all this into an old stocking and tie the top.
Drag the fabric out of the machine and add two big handfuls of salt and a tablespoon of alum to the drum. Add the weld and the fabric and run the hottest, longest wash you can for that fabric.
That should be all there is to it. You don't get as deep a colour as boiling in a pan, but its usually very even and very painless.
Madder works too, use a big handful of dried root, soak it overnight first and add the liquid too. You'll only get paler pinks, but handy if you have a cheap madder source and need to do quantities of wool.
Havent tried anything else, but worth experimenting with if you have a glut of any dyeplant :D



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Chickun
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Postby Chickun » Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:29 pm

That's fantastic Sally, sounds like a plan. Just a few more questions - how can you (roughly) tell what the max temperature is that a piece of cloth can take - would I have to test it on a sample first? Also is there any danger to the washing machine (Mrs Chickun would kill me if I messed it up!) and thirdly where can I get alum from?

thanks very much.


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Postby sally » Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:35 pm

Wool will shrink and felt somewhat, so I would cut a strip off one edge, measure it, then stuff it into the next hot wash you do ajnd see how it looks when it comes out. If you can cope with its fulled, smaller appearance, go right ahead! If you want your wool to look as it does now, its not going to do well in the machine, though saying that some wools felt far less than others, I have a bale of cloak wool here that I know for a fact is pure wool, untreated, but doesnt shrink. Whish I knew what breed of sheep it was!
Alum is about 60p for 100g at the chemists, they may need to order it for you though most stock a couple of packs (its used on bedsores for example), if you get totally stuck let me know, I have a kilo of it under my sink!
I promise your washing machine will be fine. I usually run a dark wash after dyeing anything just to make sure there are no little traces that would muddy a white wash, but I havent killed a washng machine yet. Now bra underwisres, they kill washing machines, but not weld or madder :lol:



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Postby gregory23b » Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:52 pm

Yay Sally Rocks, again.

Chickun, I have a fair bit of alum should you need it.

I got mine from the local independent chemist, about 4 quid or so 250gms or summat.


I must try the machine dye but when wife is away. I like the idea of madder and weld one over dyed over t'other, any tips on thta Sally?


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Postby sally » Wed Jun 07, 2006 5:11 pm

Should work, you'll probably get a sort of salmon colour. I often save up left over madder when I can't be bothered to use it to exhaust, dry it out and save it until I have enough to run a washing machine batch, gives a nice soft peach shade usually



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Chickun
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Postby Chickun » Wed Jun 07, 2006 5:25 pm

Thank you very much Sally - that is great!!! I will approach g23b for a "wrap" of alum the next time that I see him, and he can hopefully point out some weld to me!

Thanks very much again!


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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:22 pm

Actually young Chickun, I know of a very good source of weld not that far from your village, loads of it in fact.

Depending when you want it I may let you in on a secret.


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:31 pm

I tried it on a white linen shirt to make it black and show off my wealth. it isn't as easy as you think it would be.


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Postby William » Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:25 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I tried it on a white linen shirt to make it black and show off my wealth. it isn't as easy as you think it would be.


That's interesting, where did you find info on that? Most things I've read indicate that wealthy people wore finer, whiter Holland linen shirts, not coloured. (Prestige in being able to keep it bleached white). I'd be interested to hear of alternative info!
Cheers!



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Chickun
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Postby Chickun » Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:59 am

Ah that'd be great mate cheers. Should imagine that I'll do it in the next month or so, but no particular rush.


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:34 am

The next month or so would be perfect timing as it will be just peaking I reckon.

Weld gatherers of the world unite.

I have loads of yellow paint to make up, hence my interest, dyeing is for others, although I don't mind trying a bit of cloth for fun.


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Postby Tuppence » Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:41 pm

That's interesting, where did you find info on that? Most things I've read indicate that wealthy people wore finer, whiter Holland linen shirts, not coloured. (Prestige in being able to keep it bleached white). I'd be interested to hear of alternative info!


As far as I know, wealthier people did not wear coloured shirts (with the exception of a small amount of (I think written) evidence for saffron dyeing).

Not in years of looking at portraits and pictures, and reading documents and extracts from documents, have I ever seen anything relating to coloured shirts or shifts.
(That said, it depends on the period, as I'm more up on some than others).

However, there is an appalling (IMO) fashion amongst some english civil war re-enactors for black and other coloured shirts (saw one once that was neon orange (shiver)).
Want to nick it and burn it every time I see one!!

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Postby fishwife » Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:33 pm

Sally, I'm intrigued - what is the salt doing? You've added an aluminium salt presumably as a mordant so is the salt helping the mordant or doing something else? I would have reservations as to what difference the weld would make to a chemical dye, but would love to see the results, as you can imagine I wouldn't go near the evil stuff - definitely of the devil!!!!!

I believe there is evidence for coloured shifts so why not shirts, saffron shirts are definitely worn in Ireland, what they are actually dyed with is another question!


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sally
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Postby sally » Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:52 pm

Do you know, I have no idea. I think its a relic from my Dylon dying days, and I kept on adding a handful or two of salt even with natural dyes in the machine. I 'think' it helps, but I honestly couldnt say why :?
I'll do some next time I have a nice fresh weld plant without the salt and will take a pic of teh results. Its always a much paler version of the results you can get by boiling, but I find it handy. I have found that weld picked of saltspray cliffs is 'yellower' than inland weld, so maybe that re-inforced my belief that it likes salt.



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Postby Fillionous » Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:54 am

Salt also acts as a mordant... admitidly not as good as Alum, Copper sulphate or Iron salt mordents. Indeed you can used salt in a wash to help 'fix' modern dyes that run... learned that one from working with imported Indian cotton.

So I guess with the natural dyes it is just helping things along.

As for buying the chemicals, I have always had sucsess at my local Boots Chemist... admitidly I have always had to order. But they have been fasinated and very helpful... helps to sweet talk :)

Might be an interesting experiment to do a couple of batches, one with and one with out. See how the colours come out and how fast they are...

I generally have only done small (pot on the cooker top) batches of dyeing... but have experimented with all sorts of plants... nettle (various greens and olives), yarrow (pale yellows and soft greens), blackbery shoots (with iron mordants you get a deep navy blue!) onion (various yellows and oranges including a very 'neon' one), as well as classics such as madder and weld.

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Vicky
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Postby Vicky » Fri Jun 16, 2006 8:13 pm

Just seen that this is on tomorrow:

Event : Working with Colour
Venue : Lavenham Guildhall (in Suffolk)
Date(s) : Saturday 17 June 2006
Description : Demonstration of traditional dyeing methods
Time(s) : 11am-4pm
Price(s) : Normal admission charges apply.



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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:37 pm

Can't go as am at a wedding reception in Long Melford! a short distance from Lavenham....bottoms.


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Vicky
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Postby Vicky » Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:38 pm

I plan to go. Will report back if there's anything of interest!



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Postby Vicky » Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:07 pm

Nothing of interest to report from the natural dyeing demos - though Lavenham was as lovely as always! :)




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