have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

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have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

Postby airgead on Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:11 pm

i think i may have an idea, i was thinking of trying to go as authentic as i could, so im going to have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts, this should be fun, does anyone know if the elder is a native tree or not?
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Re: hello im new so be gentle

Postby Dave Mooney on Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:28 am

Airgead,
Can you start that as a new thread so others can find the discussion please.

Elder is native but I'm not sure you can dye with it and I'm nearly sure it was considered sacred at some point and should never be burned.
Do you mean Alder? You get different colours from different parts of that, in different seasons with different mordants. Alder bleeds red when you cut it but this oxidisation process ceases after a few days so presumably you have to fix the colour really fast. I'll have to check again but the catkins give you black and the bark can give red if done right, I think. Largely you'll be looking at shades of grey I reckon.
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Re: hello im new so be gentle

Postby wiblick on Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:58 am

According to some websites most trees were sacred at some point including both elder and alder. So I wouldn't worry about it too much, especially if you are re-enacting a Christian Irish person (notwithstanding the holdover of some pagan rituals etc.)

Elder leaves give a green/blue colour and apparently the leaves can be used as a mordant for other dyes and so I suspect would not need their a mordant. Although here it says to boil in alum water.
http://www.elizabethancostume.net/dyes/innsbruck/
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Re: have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

Postby Dave Mooney on Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:19 pm

I shall go stand in the correction corner for a suitable period.

The reason it's not burned is more a practical one, but has probably come down as a folklore enforced rule (like not walking under ladders), it's a twisted knotty wood that is prone to trapped moisture exploding other fuel out of the fire place and burning down your house. Probably safe in a stove.
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Re: have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

Postby Cathal on Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:00 am

@Dave
Do you have further informations how to dye black with alder catkins? Sounds interesting, as we're searching for methods to get black color on fabrics. The experiment with oak bark and -leaves wasn't too bad at all...
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Re: have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

Postby Dave Mooney on Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:53 am

I brought my laptop with me to the correction corner.

It was green for catkins, sorry! Info from this Neo-Pagan site http://www.controverscial.com/Alder.htm

In dyeing, the Alder’s bark is used as a foundation for blacks with the addition of copperas. Alone it dyes woollens a reddish colour (Aldine Red). The Laplanders chew it and dye leathern garments with their saliva. The young shoots of the Alder dye yellow and with a little copper a yellowish-grey useful in the half-tints and shadows of flesh in tapestry. The shoots cut in March will dye cinnamon, and if dried and powdered produce a tawny shade. The fresh wood yields a pinkish-fawn dye and the catkins a green. The leaves have been used in tanning leather. They are clammy and if spread in a room are said to catch flea’s� th� sticky glutinous surface.r/quote]r/quote]


It does say the bark is used in the foundation of black. So perhaps you need to over dye.
It's Oak 'galls' give you the black I think. You'll have to find Oak trees that the relevant wasps have laid their eggs on. There are several types of wasp that give different forms of galls and I've not found which ones are good for ink/dying. Some are flat on the leaf, but seem to be rust coloured mostly, and some are spheres with a little exit whole in the side. These are dark so more likely what's needed.
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Re: have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

Postby airgead on Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:08 pm

mmmmmmm what have i started??? there is a good page here http://www.countrylovers.co.uk/hort/plntdyes.htm that has a list of plants and accosiated colours, doesnt say owt about mordants though, although that info should not be hard to find, int google great, (sometimes).
i also just found this site for those of you interested in woad http://www.woad.org.uk/index.html
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Re: have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

Postby Stitchlily on Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:57 pm

It does say the bark is used in the foundation of black. So perhaps you need to over dye.
It's Oak 'galls' give you the black I think. You'll have to find Oak trees that the relevant wasps have laid their eggs on. There are several types of wasp that give different forms of galls and I've not found which ones are good for ink/dying. Some are flat on the leaf, but seem to be rust coloured mostly, and some are spheres with a little exit whole in the side. These are dark so more likely what's needed.


I was in Ballyseedy Woods, Tralee, a few weeks ago, with a group, (We were collecting seeds for a tree nursery), and we found oakgalls. Do you know anything more abut using them? I could see about collecting some and having a go.
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Re: have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

Postby the_power on Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:45 pm

Actually, can I ask some kindly soul to write up some sort of a ... summary or a tutorial on this ? Basically a list of irish-found plants and minerals that can be used for dyeing. Photos of the products and end results would be wonderful. I can do the authoring, so all I need is the text, I can even hunt down the photos of the plants on the net. The ideal thing would be to get a list of everything people need to go into a forest and find something to dye with.

I'm going to knock up a "medieval beer" tutorial presently, as I've just had a large consignment of yarrow, mugwort, labrador tea and sweet gale. Om nom nom.

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Re: have a go at weaveing my own wool dyed with plant extracts

Postby Dave Mooney on Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:57 pm

I have a book on Irish wildlife that shows several Galls that are formed on Oak trees in different locations by different wasps or by the same wasp but in different forms depending how the breeding season is going.
Googling it gives a lot of conflicting info about 'Potato Galls being used for dying'/'Britich Oak Galls not being as good as others' etc, etc.

It'll take a bit to filter regurgitated internet fact from the real fact. Arts and Crafts people just order in what the need in the post more often than not so we'll have to find a real dye guru to sort it.
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