Natural dyeing -using modifiers

We had a great weekend of dyeing, the sun shone and we made many beautiful colours, lovely to be dyeing outdoors again instead of in the barn. Now everything smells of wood smoke, especially me. We had a little experiment with our Alkaline modifiers, trying to work out which might be the most effective. We dyed white fleece using Madder and Alum and then made three alkaline baths, one with soda ash, one with washing powder and the other with washing

Natural dyeing at Wild Rose Escapes, craft courses, Highlands, Scotland
Natural dyeing at Wild Rose Escapes, craft courses, Highlands, Scotland

soda. We added the warm dyed fleece to the cold baths, without heating them and left the dyed fleece in the baths for about 30 minutes. All of the samples were much pinker in tone after 30 minutes, but the most effective was the soda ash, followed by the washing soda and then the washing powder. So if you want to really enhance your pinks use soda ash as a modifier.

In a separate dye bath we put Madder root in with Rhubarb leaves and added our fleece, covering it with water and heating it for about 1 hour. This produced a very strong  dark coppery colour. The rhubarb worked as both the mordant and a modifier, the acidity of the rhubarb turned the pink tones copper-orange.

It is so much fun and quite easy to make these colour changes, producing many shades from just one dye bath.

We love Madder!

Wild Rose Escapes

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