Friday, November 21, 2014

Winter Drinks and Dye Projects

While we are all getting ready for the Holidays and doing some winter projects, try something new to drink.
We have just listed a new and unusual tea called Pu erh, two White Teas, along with a new variety of Yerba Mate for your enjoyment.

Pu erh Tea is a fermented tea that, like wine, improves with age.
Some Pu erh Teas have an earthy flavor, which varies by type and age.
Our new Hazelberry Pu erh Tea has a combination of hazelnut, strawberry, chocolate, and cream flavors that meshes perfectly with the earthy undertones of a Pu erh Tea.
The smell is a heavenly addition to the taste.

Hazelberry Pu erh Tea

 If you have never have had a White Tea, maybe it's time to try.
White tea have a white appearance from the tea leaf buds and top end leaves.
It yields a light color delicate tasting tea.
We have added two varieties of this type of tea, White Cucumber and White Pear.

White Cucumber Tea
White Pear Tea

Yerba Mate is a South American drink that is similar to a tea and contains caffeine.
 It is brewed in a traditional mate gourd.
The gourd is passed from person to person during group gathering and sipped through a straw called a bombilla, which has a strainer on the bottom to filter out the leaves.
You can enjoy this beverage by brewing it like a regular tea, or the traditional way.
Our new Yerba Mate is Mocha Nut Mate, a blend of hazelnut, chocolate, and roasted Yerba Mate.
We also offer  green plain Yerba Mate.

Mocha Nut Mate
We have also just added all 40 colors of Jacquard Procion MX Dyes for Cotton, Linen, and other Plant Fibers and Fabrics.
These can be used for solid color dyeing or tie dyeing.
Simple to use, these dyes use warm tap water, table salt, and washing soda to set the dye.

Procion MX Dye Turquoise 068

Procion MX Dye Color Chart

                                                © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Dye That Named a Country

When the Portuguese explorers came to the Americas for gold and spices, they never thought they would also find a dye material that would eventually become the name of a South American country.
The area of the New World was originally named  Island of the True Cross.
But later, around 1510, a Lisbon merchant began commercial harvesting of a local tree that produced a red and pink dye.
The region then became referred to by the name of the commercial product, which was a common habit of the time.
Thus the country name of Brazil was born, from the dyestuff called brazilwood, which became an important and highly valued dye in Europe.

Brazilwood Chips, Caesalpinia sappan

Because of the demand, Brazilwood, Caesalpinia echinata, or Pernambucco tree became over harvested not only because of it's imporance as a dye, but also because of it's use in violin making.
It is now listed as an endangered plant of Brazil

In the 1700's, another species of the tree , Caesalpinia sappan, found in Asia, began to replace the brazilwood from South America. 
Also know as sappenwood, this is the brazilwood natural dye that we use today.

Both varieties of brazilwood were used for inks and colors used in the  European Medieval illuminated manuscripts.

Wool Yarn , Mordants Left to Right: Alum, Tin, Chrome, Iron

 Brazilwood produces beautiful reds and pinks on wool, linen , and cottons, depending on the mordant used, water PH, and strength of the dye. 
Use of a mordant is required, but even then the dye can fade with exposure to sunlight.
However, one will not be disappointed in adding this dye to your palate of natural dyes.

Brazilwood Sawdust with Dyed Wool Yarn

Brazilwood, along with other dyes and mordants, are available from our website.

                                               © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works