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Annatto Seeds
Seeds from a South American plant, Bixa orellana, widely used as in commercial food colourings, an ornamental where hardy, and the seeds are used in various cuisines to colour food. It's actually the pulp that surrounds the seeds that supplies the colour. Use on protein or cellulose fibres. Produces various shades of yellow to orange-yellow and can be modified with mordants. Pre-mordanting recommended. Use at 30-40% WOF for medium shades. TO USE: soak seeds for several days or up to a week in a jar of water or vinegar and shake daily. Simmer in the soaking water/vinegar at 190-200°F for 1 hour. Cool overnight and strain. Add more water if necessary and enter wet, pre-mordanted fibre. Hold at a 180-190°F for one hour, then cool overnight in the dyebath. Light and washfastness: fair with a mordant. Keep wash temperatures cool and expect some dye run.
$2.75$11.25 Select options
natural dyes @ the fibre garden
Brazilwood, Extract
Sawdust or extract from a tropical tree, Caesalpinia punctata. This species is from southeast Asia and is not the endangered species native to Brazil but still produces good, rich colours. It is also called Sappanwood or Eastern Brazilwood. Use on protein or cellulose fibres. Best with a premordant. A classic dye that gives rich crimson, purple or pink, depending on the mordant. Brazilwood is very generous and, although expensive, a dyebath can yield up to 7 or 8 successive dips. Have plenty of fibre prepared, soaked and ready! Light and washfastness is rated as average. SAWDUST: Use at 20-100% WOF for medium to strong shades. Soak in water and/or rubbing alcohol for a few hours. Spread on a tray to air overnight. Add to water and simmer 1 hour. Cool and strain. Observe dyebath colour. If it leans towards scarlet-orange, stir in a teaspoon of Soda Ash to push the pH higher and change the dyebath to more of a purple-red. Add small amounts of Soda Ash until this happens. Enter premordanted fibre to dye liquor and simmer 1 hour. EXTRACT: Approximately 6 times stronger than sawdust or chips. Use at 20-50% WOF for medium to strong shades. Dissolve in hot tap water and add to dyepot. Adjust pH with Soda Ash as outlined above. Enter premordanted fibre to dye liquor and simmer 1 hour.
$19.25$63.00 Select options
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Henna powder
A powder made from the dried leaves of a shrub, Lawsonia inermis, used for centuries as a hair and skin dye in many cultures. Used mainly on protein fibres but also effective on premordanted cellulose fibres. Substantive on wool (no mordant required) but mordants may improve lightfast qualities and copper, iron or tin will alter the resulting colours. By itself Henna produces shades of tan through brown to orange-brown or gold can also be achieved.Use at 50% WOF for medium to strong shades. TO USE: probably best soaked in water overnight. Simmer 1 hour in soaking liquid. Cool, strain then simmer premordanted fibre for 30-60 minutes. Light and washfastness: we're not sure yet, but probably pretty good.
$3.03$12.38 Select options
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Logwood, Extract
Dried and cured chips from a tropical tree, Haematoxylum campechianum. Use on protein or cellulose fibres. Pre-mordanting essential. Produces dramatic pink, blue, maroon and purple to black shades. Use at 20-50% WOF for medium shades. TO USE: place chips in a stocking and soak overnight in cold water. Bring to a simmer for 1 hour, cool and remove stocking. Enter premordanted fibre and simmer for 1 hour. Bath may be used for successive dips, and by the 3rd or 4th dip the colours being yielded change to golds, greens or browns. Light and washfastness: average. Keep dyed fibres away from bright light. NEW: Logwood Extract: this has already been soaked out then reduced down to a powder. It's expensive but very strong and super convenient. Simply weigh out the extract at around 10% weight of fibre for medium shades, or adjust for darker or lighter. Dissolve in a measuring cup with hot (but not boiling) water, add to your dyepot with water, mix well, add your fibre and simmer for an hour.
$23.10$75.60 Select options
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Madder, Whole
Dried roots of Rubia tinctoria, available ground or whole. Use on protein or cellulose fibres. Pre-mordanting recommended. A classic dye, giving dramatic reds, brick-reds to orange and coral. Use at 50-100% WOF for medium shades. TO USE: simmer in water below 185°F for 30 minutes. Cool overnight, then repeat simmer and strain. Add more water and enter pre-mordanted fibre. Hold below 158°F for one hour. Higher temperatures produce browns. Whole madder is best chopped up first in an old blender, or soaked overnight then ground as best you can in the blender with the soaking liquid. Rita Buchanan once described the process as attempting to break pencils with your bare hands. Despite this, many dyers claim the best colours come from the dried, whole roots. Light and washfastness: excellent.
$6.88$28.13 Select options
Milk Protein (Top)
Milk Protein (Top)
100% Milk Protein Fibre. Also known as Latte. Extremely clean combed top in natural ivory-cream. Staple length is about 4 inches. One of the "new" man-made fibres, with a manufacturing process very similar to soy fibre. Said to be even softer than soy, and with good lustre. We can't find much for references to describe the drape in finished garments but we are guessing it's probably excellent. Considered a protein fibre, so acid dyes will work very nicely. Probably so will natural dyes with the usual protein-fibre premordanting methods. Somebody told us that if you take the dyebath temperatures too close to boiling, this fibre will dissolve. Urban myth? You tell us!
$7.00$14.00 Select options
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Sumac Powder
Ground, dried leaves of a small tree native to the Mediterranean, Rhus coriaria. This has been used for tanning leather for centuries, producing a yellowish-green colour. It was once widely used in the woolen trade to produce shades of brown through tan to yellow-brown and olive and is sometimes called Tanner's Sumac. Used mainly on protein fibres but worth experimenting with on cotton and other plant fibres. We can't find much information, but suggesting trying this at 20-30% WOF for medium shades, as a starting point.. TO USE: soak in warm water overnight. Simmer in liquid 30-60 minutes at 170-190°F. Cool, strain, add more water if necessary then simmer premordanted fibre for 30-60 minutes at 170-190°F. Lower temperatures (below 160°F) may help the yellow pigments to shine through, and keep down the brown tones. Light and washfastness: probably good to excellent with a mordant.
$6.60$27.00 Select options
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Titanium oxalate
Used as a MORDANT in natural dyeing, which allows the plant pigments to bond with the fibres. Titanium is used both on protein and cellulose fibres, giving vibrant orange and gold tones when dyes contain tannins. As a mordant, this is relatively new and not much information abounds in books or even online. It may be the closest thing now available to replace chrome, which nobody much uses any longer. TO USE: weigh the dry fibre or yarn. Calculate mordant required for 8 to 15% WOF (weight of fibre). Dissolve in hot water. Fill pot with sufficient water for the fibre to move, add titanium and stir. Enter fibre. Bring to 180-200 degrees F and hold 1 hour. Stir yarns frequently. Cool, remove fibre and wash well. Dye immediately or dry for later. Some interesting results are being produced doing Eco-Printing on fabric, using Titanium as a mordant. We cannot seem to find much information on safe disposal of a Titanium mordant bath. Nothing we've found indicates it to be particularly toxic or harmful to plumbing or sewer systems, but to be on the safe side it may be best to dispose of this outdoors on a gravel driveway or similar place. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when rinsing or handling wet yarns. BEST DONE OUTDOORS or with very good ventilation. Avoid breathing fumes.
$19.80$81.00 Select options