>

Madder Root Dye On Linen

Madder Root Dye Recipe for Linen, Cotton and Cellulose Fibres

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples


Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

Madder Root Dye Recipe
for 100 grams of fibre
20 grams Indian Madder Root powder – Rubia Cordifolia
Put Madder Root dye powder into dye pot.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.

Indian Madder on Linen and Cotton

Indian Madder on Linen and Cotton

Himalayan Rhubarb Plant Dye
Eucalyptus Leaf Plant Dye
Brazilwood Plant Dye

Natural Dyes
Anne Georges
Wild Colours

Natural Dye Books
Natural Dyes

Botanical Colour at your Fingertips

How to Scour and Mordant Cotton and Linen

The secret to successful natural dyeing of cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics such as cotton and linen is thorough scouring. The scouring process removes natural oils, waxes and pectins from the fibre so that the dyes can penetrate the fibre more readily. Scouring and mordanting cellulose fibres is a more time consuming process than when mordanting wool and protein fibres. But it is well worth taking the extra time to prepare your fabric before you put it into the dyepot.

Here is a sample of natural brown linen fabric that has been dyed with Madder Root. One has been scoured prior to Aluminium Acetate mordant and Madder dye, and one hasn’t.

Scoured Linen Sample

Scoured Linen Sample

How to Scour Linen and Cotton
Weigh out the fabric or yarn you wish to scour.
For 100 grams of fabric I use:
10 grams Soda Ash
3 grams Carbolic Soap
Add this to water and mix.
Add the yarn or fabric.
Bring to a boil and let it simmer +2 to 3 hours.

The water will become brown as the waxes and oils are released from the fabric.
Even a bleached white linen will give you water that looks murky.
Let the fabric cool and then remove it from the scouring soak.
Rinse the fabric thoroughly.

Scour Linen and Cotton

Scour Linen and Cotton

As the Soda Ash has a high pH, the fabric needs to be soaked in an acidic vinegar solution to return the pH back to neutral. Plant dyes are sensitive to different pH levels and this can affect the final colour, so changes in pH during the mordanting process must be neutralized before dyeing the fabric.

Mordant for Cotton and Linen
To mordant cellulose fibres I use Aluminium Acetate
To mordant 100 grams of fabric,
Mix 5 grams aluminium acetate into a bowl or plastic bucket of hot tap water.
Stir until dissolved.
Add the scoured and rinsed fabric or yarn.
Let this soak for + 1 hour.

The yarn or fabric can then be removed from the mordant solution and allowed to dry, or it is ready to use as is.

Where to purchase Aluminium Acetate (in UK)
Wild Colours
George Weil

More about Plant Dyed Yarns
Madder Root Dye Recipe
Brazilwood Dye Recipe
Eucalyptus Leaf Dye
Himalayan Rhubarb Dye

Paivatar – Plant Dyed Wool Yarns
Look for some of my plant dyed yarns at my PaivatarYarn Shop on Etsy.

Natural Dye Books
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen and Cotton at Home
Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
Wild Color: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Spinning Hemp and Flax on a Distaff

Both flax and hemp are usually sold in roving form or tow, where the flax has been heavily processed into short 2-4 inch lengths. The flax or hemp roving has often been bleached or dyed. This type of flax and hemp are quite easy to spin as a roving, using a short draw. A distaff is not needed to spin this type of flax or hemp. The flax needs a light to medium twist to hold it together. When I spin the flax roving, I spin it wet, as I have a small dish of water beside me, and wet the fiber with my fingers while spinning. This helps to soften the natural pectins in the fibre and smooth the rough ends together.


Both Flax and Hemp also come in long line strick form, though this is quite often hard to find. The flax fibres are long, 2-3 feet in length, as they are in the original flax plant. The flax comes in a strick, where the long fibres are twisted and rolled together and often tied at one end, in order to hold them in place.



Distaff
Distaff spinning is used when spinning the long line flax or hemp. The distaff holds the long length of fibres in place, so that you can easily draw a few fibre lengths at a time from the tied bundle as you spin.
I don’t own a flax wheel with a distaff attachment, but I made a small modication to my Kromski Sonata wheel, so that I could attach a distaff to it. I purchased the Kromski distaff that is designed for the Kromski Minstrel wheel.
The Minstrel wheel distaff comes in 2 pieces, one is the distaff itself, and the other is the piece that attaches the distaff to the wheel.
The hole in the attachment piece is too large to fit the Sonata wheel, so I used a bit of wool roving to stuff into the hole to make a more secure fit. I also used a few rubberized washers to raise the height of the distaff slightly on the wheel.

Dressing the Distaff
To dress the distaff, or to tie the long line flax to the distaff, open up the flax bundle and shake out the fibre so it is loose. Examine the fibre to determine which is the easiest end to spin from. One end will be a bit more tangled and knotted together and the other end will be easier to draw fibres from. Lay the fibre onto the table and open it up a bit. Place the distaff on top of the fibre with the top of the distaff at the more tangled end.
Use a length of cord or ties, about 2 meters in length, fold it in half, and lightly wrap it at the top end of the distaff, to secure the fibres to the distaff.
Loosely wrap the flax fibre around the length of the distaff, so that the fibres are all running straight along the distaff.
Then loosely wrap the remaining lengths of the cord around the flax fibre and down the length of the distaff.
Then place the tied flax distaff onto the distaff attachment on the wheel.

Spinning from the Distaff
Because the fibre length on long line flax or hemp is very long, you don’t need a lot of twist in order to hold the fibre together. I spin this on the lowest ratio on wheel. To start spinning, run your hand along the length of the flax that is on the distaff, and select just a few strands from the very end of the tied flax and gently pull these out and begin to spin. You will find that you need to draw this length of fibre out quite a long way, (2 or 3 feet) before you reach the end of that fibre length, and then draw out another few fibres from the flax bundle.
As with any hand spinning, how many fibres you draw out, will determine the thickness of your yarn. To spin a fine flax or hemp yarn, draw out only a few at a time, to spin a thicker yarn, draw out more fibre.
I have a small dish of water beside me, and I dip my fingers into the water to moisten them, and run my finger along the length of the fibre I have just spun, to wet it, before I let the length spin onto the bobbin. This helps to soften the fibre as you are spinning.

Both Hemp and Flax long line fibre can be purchased in my Etsy shop or my Spin Flora website.

 

 

Brother Electric Drum Carder

A few days ago, my new Little Brother Electric Drum Carder arrived. It is wonderful and it is a beautiful thing to look at as well as to use. The craftsmanship is superb. The woodwork has all been well made and polished. The motor is surprisingly quiet to operate. I have used electric carders in the past, and after a few minutes of use, the drone of the motor would get very irritating. And it is very easy to use. The carder has a variable speed motor that operates smoothly and easily with a gentle turn of the button. The drum carder also has a reverse function, that makes it simple to remove the completed batt from the back of the drum.
The drum carders come in a range of widths and sizes. I purchased the smaller one – the Little Brother. I has an 8 inch drum width and will make an 8 inch x 22 inch batt. The amount of fibre that it will hold can vary depending on what type of fibre you are using and how well you pack it in while carding. So far, I have managed to card about 50 grams onto the drum, but I think I could add more (perhaps 100 gr) if I card and pack carefully.

The drums also come with a range of carding cloth sizes.
54 TPI (teeth per inch) – good for carding art batts and thicker wools, 72 TPI, 90 TPI, 120 TPI and 190 TPI (for super fine fibres). If you work with different weights of fibres, you can also add additional interchangeble drums.
I purchased the 120 TPI size, because I mostly work with finer fibres, such as merino, alpaca, silk and also the vegan viscose fibres such as Bamboo, soya silk, tencel and other cellulose tops and roving.
I found the carder extremely easy to use, first time. The soft bamboo and soya silk that I carded tend to be very light and fluffy, and some of the fibre was catching on the small licker drum. The distance between the licker drum and the larger swift drum is easily adjustable. I unscrewed the 4 bolts and gave the adjustment screws a slight turn, to add a bit more space between the drums. This solved my problem of the fibre grabbing onto the licker.
For my first set of batts, I blended some dyed bamboo, soya silk and Pearl Infused Cellulose. I rolled these into small punis, and will be spinning this as a singles, and Navajo plying the yarn to add extra texture.


The flowers are in full bloom in my garden right now. A small patch of Petunias and Nasturtiums gave me the inspiration for my second blended batt. I used Commercially dyed Bamboo, hand dyed soya silk and some tencel for this fibre blend.

Brother Drum Carders
Gabriel at Brother Drumcarders was extremely helpful when I placed my order. The carder was shipped almost immediately. There was however, a very long delay with USPS postal service, as it took about 2 weeks to move the carder from Oregon to the International shipping location of San Francisco. Once there, the carder was onto the plane and arrived at Heathrow the next day. Then a few days delay at Parcel Force while they determined the standard VAT customs duties I had to pay.
The carder does come with an adapter so that it works on UK 220 power outlets. I switched the 2 prong plug that came with the unit, to a cable that had been on one of my old printers – so it now plugs in correctly into 3 prong UK plugs.

 

Spin Flora Dot Com

When I was asked by the AGWSD to teach a workshop on spinning flax this coming summer at their Summer School, I started to do some research on spinning with plant fibres. Never did I expect to fall down such a large rabbit hole! I started by ordering a few small sample packs of different flora fibres, flax, hemp, ramie and a few of the new plant-based fibres such as banana and seacell that have recently come onto the market. I fell in love with the variety and the textures that these plants have to offer. Spinning flora took over in my studio. As I used up my plastic crates filled with wool, they quickly filled up again with a delightful assortment of flora fibres.

Spin and Weave Flora

Spin and Weave Flora


I generally like to use acid dyes for dyeing wools and silk, but of course, the acid dyes won’t work on cellulose fibres. So I decided that really – plants should be dyed with plants. I rummaged through my dye stash and found a supply of madder root, indigo, osage, and other natural dyestuffs. And began to experiment.
Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat


Each of the fibres have their own unique characteristics. Some are soft and slippery, some feel like the finest of silk, some are a bit rough and coarse. They all need to be spun with a slightly different spinning technique. They can also be blended with each other or with wool. Handspinning with flora fibres are also a lovely alternative for those who are allergic to wool or who prefer not to use animal fibres.
Spin Flora grew and it was time for it to have its own website – a place where you can explore this world of Flora and also purchase a few samples of your own to experiment with.
I hope that you will visit Spin Flora not Fauna

Fungi Dye: Pisolithus arhizus

Pisolithus arhizus Mushroom Dye

pisolithus dyed yarn

Pisolithus arhizus – Brown, gold
Also known as the Dyeball
FI – Hernekuukunen

Alum Mordant

3 litres water
25 grams alum
10 grams cream of Tartar
Bring to boil and then let cool
100 gram wool yarn tied in skeins
Rinse the clean washed yarn in cool water
Add the yarn into the cool mordant bath and bring it to 80-90 C degrees
Simmer for 1 hour
Remove and let cool

Fungi Dye Bath

If using dried mushrooms soak them in water for a few hours until soft.
100 grams dried mushrooms
5 litres water
Bring to boil and simmer for 2-3 hours

Let dyebath cool
Strain the liquid and store the cooked mushrooms. They can be used again in an afterbath
Add mordanted yarn to strained dyebath liquid

Add mordanted yarn to dyebath
Return to heat and simmer for 1 hour at 80-90 degrees Celsius or longer for stronger colour.
Remove from heat source and let cool
Rinse in water that is of similar temperature as dyebath to avoid shocking the yarn and causing felting to occur.

Fungi Dye: Phaeolus schweinitzii

Phaeolus schweinitzii – Mushroom Dyes
Karhunkaapa (FI)

mushroom dye phaeolus577.jpg, 14358 bytes

Phaeolus schweinitzii – Yellow, gold

Alum Mordant

3 litres water
25 grams alum
10 grams cream of Tartar
Bring to boil and then let cool
100 gram wool yarn tied in skeins
Rinse the clean washed yarn in cool water
Add the yarn into the cool mordant bath and bring it to 80-90 C degrees
Simmer for 1 hour
Remove and let cool

Fungi Dye Bath

If using dried mushrooms soak them in water for a few hours until soft.
300 grams dried mushrooms
5 litres water
Bring to boil and simmer for 2-3 hours

Let dyebath cool
Strain the liquid and store the cooked mushrooms. They can be used again in an afterbath
Add mordanted yarn to strained dyebath liquid

Add mordanted yarn to dyebath
Return to heat and simmer for 1 hour at 80-90 degrees Celsius or longer for stronger colour.
Remove from heat source and let cool
Rinse in water that is of similar temperature as dyebath to avoid shocking the yarn and causing felting to occur.

Mushroom Dyeing
A New England and Eastern Canada Edible and Medicinal Mushroom Resource
Mosswalks Blogspot
Basket dyed with Phaeolus schweinitzii “dyers polypore”
California Fungi: Phaeolus schweinitzii
Root Diseases: Chweinitzii Butt Rot
This fungus is considered to be a tree disease in British Columbia

Fungi Dye: Boletopsis Grisea

Boletopsis grisea
mushroom dye boletopsis574.jpg, 13207 bytes

FI – Sudenkaapa
SW -tallgraticka

Alum Mordant
3 litres water
25 grams alum
10 grams cream of Tartar
Bring to boil and then let cool
100 gram wool yarn tied in skeins
Rinse the clean washed yarn in cool water
Add the yarn into the cool mordant bath and bring it to 80-90 C degrees
Simmer for 1 hour
Remove and let cool

Fungi Dye Bath

If using dried mushrooms soak them in water for a few hours until soft.
200 grams dried mushrooms
5 litres water
Bring to boil and simmer for 2-3 hours

Let dyebath cool
Strain the liquid and store the cooked mushrooms. They can be used again in an afterbath
Add mordanted yarn to strained dyebath liquid

Add mordanted yarn to dyebath
Return to heat and simmer for 1 hour at 80-90 degrees Celsius or longer for stronger colour.
Remove from heat source and let cool
Rinse in water that is of similar temperature as dyebath to avoid shocking the yarn and causing felting to occur.

This page last edited on August 6, 2017

by


All Fiber Arts by Paivi Suomi is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Advertisements

This website contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. This helps to cover the costs of keeping this website alive. Thank you for your support.

Interweave Videos

  • Sculpted Hats (Coupeville, WA)
    In this workshop we’ll push the boundaries of the felt hat making process. We’ll construct a complex resist template and learn about layering techniques that serves our goals the best, building in extra...
  • Coiled Basketry Weaving with Linda Conroy (Prairie du Sac, WI)
    Coiled Basketry: Pine Needles, Sweet Grass and Broom Corn. In this class, students will learn to make a coiled basket using various materials. Explore the creative possibilities of this ancient art form...
  • Scarf with Pine Needles (Coupeville, WA)
    Pine-Needle technique is the unique technique of wet felt making. I was inspired by the pine needles spread on the snow one winter morning. Pine Needles is lacy fine felt, it is very soft and delicate...
  • Big Ink: Surface Design + Garment Construction (Coupeville, WA)
    Big Ink is all about creating bold dramatic surfaces on garments that engage the wearer and the viewer. This is design that celebrates life and movement! We explore sumi-e ink drawing on silks fabrics...