Upcycling for the Blue Patch Project with Natural Dyes: Madder July 23, 2015 14:32

Angela has been busy with natural dyes:

" I have an aversion to throwing out potentially useful stuff which verges on OCD, so the Bluepatch project was right up my alley.  I have a large stack of grey wool bits which were too small for anything but patchwork and too good to dump.  So, I thought I'd have a go at natural dyeing and see what possibilities came up.

I found a really good source for natural dyes at www.wildcolours.co.uk.
Everything needed is available from their lovely website including comprehensive instructions, and the service is super-fast.

I chose to sample a Madder dye, because it can be used cold (so no cauldron in the kitchen to worry about!)  and  Madder also has  good light-fastness results (no rubbing off on your clothes!).

As well as over-dyeing the grey felted woven wool, I dyed a chunk of old cream wool blanket to try and see the true colour. 

-VE no.1    I had thrown out my Mums stainless steel Baby Burco boiler.......big mistake.

VERY briefly, the dyeing process involves:
1.  Boiling up samples with washing-up liquid (scouring).
2.  Simmering samples with Alum and Cream of Tartar (mordanting).
3.  Simmering samples with Madder and Chalk (dyeing).

The pic shows felt samples in direct light and shade, before pressing, plus the original boiled sample.  The paler shades are a bonus from re-using the exhausted dye-bath.

+VE no.1  Great depth of colour, slightly patchy due to too small bath.
+VE no. 2  No skill required.
-VE no. 2  Woolly surface, better after steam pressing.