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Lilac

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 8:05 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
Listen I don't even know if I have spelt it right let alone if it was a colur available in the WOTR period. Any ideas from the more clued up amongst you?

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 8:44 pm
by Cat
Blackberries? Anybody ever dropped them, or mulberry, or elderberry down their WHITE frontage?

In udder words, yes, I think so...(hope so anyhow, my banquetting gown is made of a large quantity of beautiful mauve/lilac wool.)

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 8:55 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
Great, gonna get me some lilac hose. Lilac is the new pink!

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 11:09 pm
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
Prob with berries as dyestuffs is they're not as great in practice as in theory. They're not a fast dye (fugitive) and they don't like light, in particular.

Even so, it's thought people often re-dyed fugitive dyestuffs, though so you could do it the easy way and just boil up, say blackberries or elderberries and then when it faded, re dye it - no reason why not. Alum would be my mordant of choice.

You could try overdyeing. If you ferment woad you get the famous blue - but if you have the right water conditions, and boil it instead, you get a sort of sunset pink. (I have never tested it to see how fast it is though...) You could, theoretically, overdye a boiled woad with a fermented one (or indigo as they're chemically identical).

You could best achieve lilac with obscure lichens which are hard to source in any quantity in an ecologically sound way... and even then it would be a complex fermenting process as opposed to a straightforward boil up.

That said, for the lilac-y colours I've seen, I think lichen would have been used traditionally - parmelia saxatilis or ochrolechia tartarea might be roughly OK but would tend to be vivid, and much more red than blue, if anything.

Years ago I told a workshop of kids you couldn't get a purple from red cabbage - so to prove me wrong - they did! I dunno how they succeeded as I never did...

Re. lichens, you'd be wise to use a fairly exhausted out dyebath but you're talking fermenting with old pee, chalk and other stuff and a long process, there. Then dye something else first and use it when it's almost exhausted. One way of dulling it down from its vividness might be to overdye a very light natural grey. Lot of trouble prob more than tis worth?

For a later period you could get a less red more blue lilac more easily with an exhausted logwood dyebath.

Karen Leigh Casselman's 'Craft of the Dyer' has a bit about dyeing with lichens, as does Su Grierson's 'Colour Cauldron' if I rem right - your library might be able to get them in for you?

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 1:28 am
by sisterwulfe69*
you can get a lilac colour from the leaves of the elderberry if mordanted with acetic acid and alum

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 2:19 am
by Tuppence
also, if you get the mix right, it would probably be possible with a to dye bath thing - blue & red, heavy on the blue.

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:28 am
by GinaB
I once achieved a lovely purply colour with cochineal, alum and iron. Completely by mistake I might add!

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 11:38 am
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
Yes Gina, I only ever get a dull raspberry/lilacy colour with cochineal - and I'm too 'low impact' these days to want to do it anymore but you are spot on with that. Again, cochineal's later period, though.

I bought some wool naturally dyed by someone else, a while back that was multi coloured and one of the colours was just exactly a dull sort of lilac. I can email them and see if they spill their secret?

Also if you try a berry dye and you have an old cauldron or can get an iron cooking pot from a charity shop - that's a way of saddening a vivid colour. Thinking about it, you could try berries boiled in an iron pan and see what happens? If you have accesss to your group's cooking pot you probably better not do it as if they find out you been boiling up dyes in their stew pot they might not be too thrilled...

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:27 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
Very grateful to youse all. I'm not going into the dying of the stuff. I'd just seen a pair by Sally Green and wondered about getting them. the daughter talked me out of it before claiming it made me look gay. As she thinks me yellow hose looked gay and me pink hose look gay I'm now thinking it's me she's thinking is gay and the colour has not a thing to do with it.

Posted: Sat May 05, 2007 11:21 am
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
Now you mention it lilac is a bit gay... but why not? :lol:

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 12:31 am
by Spinit
I have had beautiful blues from woad,ranging from royal to pale cambridge,and lovely lilacs-from late pickings.The lilac does not seem to be as light fast as the blues.Berries used for dying seem to fade to grey fairly quickly,and it always seems a waste to dye with something you could eat or make into falling down water.

Posted: Tue May 29, 2007 8:08 am
by Gwen
Alkanet dyes purple. An exhausted bath would yield lilac.

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:10 am
by Marcus Woodhouse
Well having got in touch with the fellas in question lilac is off the menu, however they do have a nice tasty looking mulberry which I might go for instead.