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Natural dyeing is usually a 2 step process. The yarn or fibre must be soaked in a mordant,
that prepares the fibre to absorb the natural dye substance.
- Use clean, scoured wool or yarn.
- Fill a large pot with clean water and heat.
- Weigh the yarn or clean, dry fleece.
- Using 10% Alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) to weight of fibre, mix the Alum into the hot
- Using 5% Tartaric Acid to weight of fibre, add the Tartaric acid to the hot water
- Rinse the wool so that it is damp.
- Add the wool or skeins of yarn into the hot Alum mixture.
- Make sure that the wool is all covered by the water, if not, add more water to the
- Simmer the mordant mixture for x-about an hour at 90 degrees Celsius.
- Remove the yarns from the Alum mixture.
- Don’t discard the leftover Alum mordant. The Alum mixture can be reused by adding more water and 1/2 the amount of Alum and Tartaric
- If dyeing skeins of yarn, make sure that the skeins are tied securely, but loosely in at
least 3 places, to avoid tangling.
- The mordanted yarns can be dyed immediately, or dried and stored for later natural
- The alum/tartaric acid mixture is suitable for wools, silks and other protein
Where to Buy Alum Mordant
Natural Dye Books
Natural Color: Vibrant Plant Dye Projects for Your Home and Wardrobe
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use