How to Dye Fibres with Natural Dyes
by Christa Clay
by Christa Clay
White wool and silk are generally accepted as the fibres which most readily accept natural dyes. During the dye process, the microscales within wool fibres open up to allow the dyes to penetrate into its internal structure
Before wool can be mordanted or dyed, it must be cleaned — this method method is called scouring. Any grease, dirt, or wax on the fibres may resist the mordant or dye, leaving areas which remain the color of the raw material while the cleaned portion takes the dye color.
Goldenrod Petals or Willow Leaves
Goldenrod are at peak bloom in late summer/early fall and Willow leaves appear in late spring/summer.
Always harvest respectfully, with permission, and prudently — only take what you need, and never more than 1/3 of what you see.
Designated Dye Pot
one not used for consumables.
Scour the wool, if it is not clean
Prepare the dyebath
Put the flowers/leaves/stems in the dye pot and cover with water enough for your fibres to float ˜ eely. on med-high heat and let the vat come to a simmer (160-185F) for 1 to 2 hours, or until the water turns into a deep shade of yellow (golden-rod) or purple (wiillow). strain the vat (or catch all organic matter ˜ om the pot) and add prewetted fibre to the pot.
Warm wool slowly in a pot of water
On medium to low heat, and let the fibres sit in the bath for 1 hour or until you are satisfied with their color. Avoid agitating the wool or it will felt.
Hang dyed ﬁbres in the shade
For 20 minutes before rinsing in warm or cool water. Then hang to dry again in the shade.
*use an iron modifier to intensify dye colour, pre-wet fibres before mordanting with iron use designated pot when making modifier.