Colourful outcomes from Natural Dyeing Day

Natural dyes produced at workshop on 15th September

Dying with natural dyes is always a bit of an adventure and unless you are very experienced, the outcomes cannot always be predicted. So I was thrilled a the beauty of the colours we created at the natural dye workshop on 15th September.

During the day we explored various dyes using double knit Blue Face Leicester yarn made by West Yorkshire Spinners.

We began the day using dyes made from Onion Skins and Walnut husks. These had been pre-prepared in advance of the workshop as there would not have been sufficient time for them to be made and used on the day. Neither dye needs a mordent, which is a chemical that is used to treat the yarn to make the dye colour fast.

 onion skin dye top and walnut dye bottom

onion skin dye top and walnut dye bottom

We made dye baths on the day using a variety of different natural materials, including weld, safflower, cochineal and logwood. These were simmered gently for about an hour each. Quite a challenge to find space on the cooker for them all!


WP_20180915_11_53_06_Pro.jpg

After lunch we introduced the yarns to the dyes produced during the morning and another long simmering was allowed to give the dye time to colour the yarns.

 yarn and wool tops in the safflower dye bath

yarn and wool tops in the safflower dye bath

Towards the end of dyeing we added an iron mordent to the cochineal dye baths. Iron with darken the colours produced.

 Three colours produced by cochineal dye bath: top mordent with alum and cream of tartar, bottom left mordent with tin and right no pre-mordent but iron added to dye bath at end

Three colours produced by cochineal dye bath: top mordent with alum and cream of tartar, bottom left mordent with tin and right no pre-mordent but iron added to dye bath at end

It was a hugely enjoyable day. We produced wonderful colours, learned a lot and had fun doing so. Thank you to Nancy for taking part.