I have been doing a project linked to my spinners and dyers guild which has involved dyeing with weld – so I thought I would share that with you for this blog.
I grow weld each year and either use it fresh from mid-summer through to early autumn, then I dry it and use it throughout the year. Weld is a Mediterranean herb that was used by the Romans to dye the robes of the Vestal Virgins.
As Weld flowers between June and August, I used weld which I dried last autumn. Fresh weld gives a slightly stronger yellow than the dried, however dried weld is still a lovely lightfast colour.
I first soaked the dried weld overnight in a bag made from garden fleece and then simmered it for an hour on a low heat. After which time, I turned off the heat and left to cool overnight
I then removed the bag of weld and saved it to use again later to give me a paler yellow.
In the meantime I soaked 600g of alum mordanted fibre for several hours in plain water and when the dyebath was ready I put them in the pan and slowly simmered for an hour.
I then turned off the heat and left the fibres to soak overnight.
The next day I rinsed the fibres very carefully in tepid water until the water ran clear and left them to dry outside in the shade.
When dry I divided the fibres into six groups of 100g each as I want to demonstrate the effect that different modifiers have on the colour of the fibre.
The range of colours that can be achieved using natural dyes may be expanded by changing the alkalinity or acidity of the dyebath.
It isn’t too late for you to sow your dye seeds for this year. Experience the satisfaction of growing and using your own homegrown dyes.
Dye seeds are available on my website.
In the meantime – I shall carry on dyeing naturally!