Thursday, October 24, 2013

Natural Dye Series

Starting this week, we will be posting short, but hopefully informative, articles on natural dyes .
Each post will cover a traditional natural dye, presented in order in which the colors appear in the rainbow.

     Below are some examples of wool yarn dyed with natural dyes.

 Natural Dyes and Mordants are available on our website.

© 2013 Brush Creek Wool Works

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chasing Red, Madder Root Natural Dye

Madder Root has been used for centuries to produce red, orange, and orange brown natural colors of fibers and fabric. The color chemical is called alizarin.

The most common species known is Rubia tinctorium. It  is a perennial that can be grown in colder  climates. Normally the plants are planted in a deeply tilled bed of soil., The bed is tended for 2 years allowing the roots to spread and mature. At the end of the two years, half of the bed is dug up to harvest the roots, which are then dried. The other half of the bed is left to grow more roots for future harvests.The roots resemble bright reddish orange worms when dug.

 Ground Madder Root with wool yarn samples and fabric woven from different mordanted yarns.

Our Madder Plants

Freshly Dug madder Root

There is a North American wild native plant , Lady's Bedstraw, Galium verum, that supposedly also has the dye chemical in it's roots. It's physical appearance resembles Madder. The amount of the dye found in the roots is supposedly less than in Rubia tinctorium. However we yet to test the plant roots as a dye to verify these claims.

Another species of madder is Indian Madder , Rubia cordifolia. also know as Munjeet.
As with Rubia tinctorium, the colors that it yields vary from red, through orange, and orange brown.

 Ground Indian Madder Root with dyed wool yarn using different mordants

All colors produced by Madder Root, depends on the place where the plant was grown, species, temperature of the dye bath, ph of the dye bath water, and the mordant used to make the dye colors fast.

Both Madder Root and Indian Madder Root, plus Natural Dye Mordants, are available on our web site

                                             © 2013 Brush Creek Wool Works

Friday, October 18, 2013

" When the Frost is on the Pumpkin ...."

" When the frost is on the pumpkin ......."

The above quote from the poem by James Whitcomb Riley was one of my father's favorite sayings for fall.
So many delightful sights, smells , foods, and holiday icons are associated with this season of year.
Below are some pictures of those items, some of which can be found on our web store.

Fall Leaves in Pennsylvania

A Dyer's Garden by Rita Buchanan

Hand Spun Hand Dyed Wool Yarn 

                                             © 2013 Brush Creek Wool Works