Category Archives: Natural Dyes

About using organic and natural dyes, recipes.

The Horse Song Tapestry: aa-kady

I was inspired to weave this tapestry piece after hearing the stories and songs
of the scared Horse of my people. The inspiration came to me while
herding my sheep in the Carrizo Mtn, this past summer. A lot of wild
horses roam in the area and the songs and stories of the horse came
back to me. The Horse Song was taught to me by my grand father Kady
Gonna Begay. My mother still tells me stories of our horses of about a
100, and how she’d help her father tame them. My older sisters would go
out every morning to give offerings to the horses so they too can walk
in beauty.

Navajo Weaving Loom

FROM THE NAVAJO WAR GOD’S HORSE SONG I am the Turqoise Woman’s son.

On top of Belted Mountain,

Beautiful horse–slim like a weasel.

My horse has a hoof like striped agate;

His fetlock is like a fine eagle plume;

His legs are like quick lightning.

My horse’s body is like an eagle-plumed arrow;

My horse has a tail like a trailing black cloud.

I put flexible goods on my horse’s back;

The Little Holy Wind blows through his hair.

His mane is made of short rainbows.

My horse’s ears are made of round corn.

My horse’s eyes are made of big stars.

My horse’s head is made of mixed waters–

From the holy waters–he never knows thirst.

My horse’s teeth are made of white shell.

The long rainbow is in his mouth for a bridle,

and with it I guide him.

When my horse neighs, different-colored horses follow.

When my horse neighs, different-colored sheep follow.

I am wealthy, because of him.

Before me peaceful,

Behind me peaceful,

Under me peaceful,

Over me peaceful,

All around me peaceful–

Peaceful voice when he neighs.

I am Everlasting and Peaceful.

I stand for my horse.

NAVAJO HORSE SONG (Blessing Way)
How joyous his neigh!

Lo, the Turquoise Horse of Johano-ai,

How joyous his neigh,

There on precious hides outspread, standeth he;

How joyous his neigh,

There of mingled waters holy, drinketh he;

How joyous his neigh,

There in mist of sacred pollen hidden, all hidden he;

How joyous his neigh,

These his offspring may grow and thrive forevermore;

How joyous his neigh!

Horse song tapestry

Horse song Navajo rug
This beautiful textile is for sale, and if you are interested in
purchasing it, the textile measures 25 1/2″ (W) X 35 1/1″ (L), the wool are all natural colors, hand-spun by my grand mother Elizabeth Kady
Begay and Shima.

Please call me or email me back, may you all walk in beauty.


Roy Kady

P.O. Box 209

Teec Nos Pos, AZ., 86514

928-656-3498

Ethnic Textiles
Weaving Information
Weaving Drafts, projects, patterns.

Tapestry Weaving Books
Tapestry Weaving (Search Press Classics)
Tapestry Weaving: A Comprehensive Study Guide
Tapestry Weaving: Design and Technique
Tapestry Weaving: A Comprehensive Study Guide

Using Natural Dyes: aa011198

Once the yarns or fiber have been soaked in a mordant solution, they are ready for the dye bath. The mordanted yarns can also be dried and stored for dyeing at a later time. In this project, I am sampling to see what colour range I can achieve through a simple overdye technique.

I am using 3 fairly easy to find natural dyes: Brazilwood (gives pink and orange),

Osage Orange (yellow),
osage orange yarn

Saxon Blue Indigo solution (blue). I prepared each dye bath in separate pots and divided the yarn skeins evenly between each pot (both Tin and Alum mordanted skeins). I left the skeins in each pot to simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When I was happy with the depth of colour, I removed 1 skein from each pot, rinsed and hung it up to dry. This was my original sample of each colour. With the remaining skeins, I wanted to overdye them in the other dyepots to see what colours would emerge. I then removed two thirds of the skeins from each pot, and put them into the other 2 pots. That is, if there were 18 skeins left in the Brazilwood pot, I removed 12 (6 Tin, 6 Alum) and placed 6 (3 Tin, 3 Alum) in Indigo and 6 (3 Tin, 3 Alum) in Osage Orange. I let these simmer for about 1/2 hour and then removed a sample from each pot. For the remaining skeins, if I liked the colour that was developing, I left them in the pot to deepen. If I didn’t like the colour, I removed the skein and put it in another one of the dyepots for a bit longer. When I removed all of the skeins, there was still lots of colour left in the dyepot. As I don’t like to waste good dye, I placed some other premordanted skeins of yarn into the pots and let them simmer.

I used fairly light concentrations of dye as I was not dyeing a large amount of fiber and I wanted to achieve fairly light, pastel tones for this project. A larger concentration of dye will result in deeper colour and more afterbath solutions. I won’t go into details of how I mixed the dyes, in this article but you can find more information and dye recipes on this website as well as elsewhere on the net. Experiment and have fun.

Woad Vat
Himalayan Rhubarb Dye
How to Scour and Mordant Cotton
Using Natural Dyes and Mordants-Part 1.

Natural Dyes and Recipes

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Beginner Natural Dyeing: aa010498

Whenever you use dyes, there is always a health risk involved. Some dyes and mordants are poisonous, so use them with caution.

  • Never use the same pots and utensils for dyeing that you use for cooking.
  • Wear rubber gloves and use a face mask when measuring mordants and dyes.
  • Work in a well ventilated area, preferably not your kitchen.
  • Dispose of used mordants and dyebaths safely.

In the summer months, I do my dyeing outside. During the winter, I have a table set up in the laundry room. The occasional sock gets dyed an unusual colour sometimes, but that is better, I think, than making my family ill. Using natural dyes is not difficult, but takes some preparation. Any fiber that you dye must be clean, or you will be dyeing the wool grease and not the fiber. So scour it well, in hot, soapy water. And rinse out the yarn. With most natural dyes, it requires a 2 step process. The mordanting of the yarn and then the application of the dye. Many of the natural dyes also need some time to soak (overnight). I usually do this over a 2 day period. I mordant the yarns on the first day, prepare the dye solutions and then dye on the second day.

Natural dyes usually require the fiber to be soaked in a pre-mordant bath. The mordant prepares the fiber to receive the dyestuff, deepening, or changing the colour and making it more colourfast. I used about 1 lb. of yarn, winding off sample skeins, each approx. 10 yards in length. The day before I planned to dye, I pre-mordanted the yarn samples.

For this project, I am using 2 different mordants, to see what range of colours I will get.

Alum/Tartaric Acid Mordant

  • Use 10% Alum to weight of fiber
  • Use 5% Tartaric Acid to weight of fiber

Weigh fiber and weigh out required mordants. Add mordants to a dyepot filled with hot water. Dissolve and add clean, wet yarn samples. Simmer for about an hour at 90 degrees Celsius. Remove the yarn and rinse well.
Tin Mordant

  • Use .5% to weight of fiber

Weigh your fiber and the required amount of mordant. Dissolve the tin mordant in the hot dyebath of water. Add clean, wet yarn samples. Simmer for 1 hour. Remove the yarn and rinse well.
To save time, you can make larger baths of mordants and pre-mordant larger amounts of yarn, labelling them appropriately, so that they are ready when you want to do some dyeing.

More…
Dyeing with Brazilwood and Osage Orange

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30" Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom and Stand - new

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Mirrix Zach 22 Inch Loom

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Natural Dyes: dyesnatural

Natural Plant dyes and recipes.

Alum Mordant
How to make an alum mordant for dyeing wool yarns.

Cochineal
A recipe for dyeing with Cochineal.

Dye Plants
Birch, Delphiniums, avocado, cabbage and other dye plants.

Easter Egg Dye Project
Dye some eggs and wool this Easter with natural dyes you can find in your kitchen.

Indigo – Saxon Blue
Directions for dyeing with Saxon Blue, a pre-mixed Indigo solution.

Mordant for Linen
How to make a mordant for linen and cotton yarns.

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Blue Skirts Golden Belts
Viking Age textiles in Finland may have used mushroom dyes for vivid colour.

Mushroom Dyes
Recipes and instructions for dyeing yarn with mushrooms

Natural Dyes and Mordants
Using Alum and Tin mordants for dyeing wool yarn.

Natural Dye Plants
Recipes and information about using commonly found vegetable dye plants.

Print Making and Stenciling
A printmaking workshop using natural dyes in Finland.

Tin Mordant
How to make a mordant for linen and cotton yarns.

Using Natural Dyes
Dyeing wool with Brazilwood, Indigo and Osage Orange.

Lichens and Dyes
Lichens have been used as a food source, medicine and a dyestuff for centuries.

Mineral Dyes

Rhubarb Root Dye
A recipe for dyeing with rhubarb roots to make yellow, orange or red shades.

Brazilwood Dye
How to Dye shades of pinks with Brazilwood.

Cochineal Dye
Dye pinks and reds with Cochineal

Plant Dyes
An assortment of plants that produce colour.

Natural Dyes and Mordants
A table of some natural dyes, mordants and recipes.

Urine, Fleece and Natural Dyes
Did you know that urine has been used as a mordant for natural dyes?

Dye History from 2600 BC to the 20th Century
An impressive historical list of dyeing through the ages.

Dyeing with Mushrooms
Hjordis Katarina Lundmark shows her wonderful work with mushroom dyeing. Much of the site is in Swedish, but do follow the links for some colourful examples of mushroom dyes.

Dyes and Dating Caucasian Weavings
An article by Steven Price, describing how dyes help determine when a rug was woven.

Earthguild
Earthguild carries a wide assortment of dyes: Natural, Lanaset, Procion, Deka, Cushing and more.

Henna
Rust with dried Henna leaves and tin mordant, from the Mannam Carpet site.

Hill Creek Fiber Studio
Carol Leigh carries a wide range of natural dye products.

How Dyes are Classified – Natural Dyes
Although this is a site for the medical technologist, there is an interesting article about classifying natural dye substances.

How to Dye Cloth
From the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, a lesson plan on dyeing, covering topics of history of dyes, natural and synthetic dyes, textile printing and tie-dyeing..

Indigo
Carol Todd describes growing indigo and her dye procedure for dark shades of blue.

Japanese Indigo
Where to find Japanese Indigo seeds and how to grow them.

Kathryn of the Hills Dye Book
Some interesting natural dye recipes: pokeberry dye, bark, 19th Century cheap dyes, and instructions for using mordants.

La Lana Wools
La Lana Wools offers handspun yarns, natural dyes and a custom-dyeing service.

Madder
Carol Todd grows her own madder root for deep red colours.

Mannam Carpet Vegetable Dyes
Vegetable dyes: Alkanet, henna, indigo, madder, pomegranate, turmeric, walnut.

Marbeling – An Ancient Craft Reborn
Marbling dates back to 12th Century Japan. Rooftop Clothing gives a brief history on the technique, as well as examples of what can be done.

Medieval Gardens
In medieval times, plants were used for food, medicine and dyes. La Belle Compagnie lists many herbs and plants, along with a table of usage.

Natural Dye Research in the South Central Andes
Vickie Cassman did a fascinating research project on dyestuffs of the Andes.

Natural Dyes and Medicine
Rosemary Jacobs explains the connection between vegetable dyes and the pharmaceutical industry.

Natural Dyeing with Oxalis Flowers
Janis Saunders uses Oxalis flowers to dye cotton from a neighbours garden.

Pagan and Lyoness’ Dye Page
Indigo, prickly pear, blackberry, lichen and other dye baths and vats.

Queen Ann’s Lace
The Hollow Tree Spinners dye with Queen Ann’s Lace flowers.

Red with Madder
Mannam Carpet’s recipe for madder dye.

Rivendell’s Botany Page
This site describes the history of natural dyes and contains a chart of some natural dye substances and dye instructions.

Rosemary
Rosemary leaves and trimmings will dye to greens and yellows with Carol Todd’s recipe.

Rug Dyes
Jacobsen Oriental Rugs provides information on natural and synthetic dyes used in Turkish and Balouch rugs.

Sunflower Seeds
Dried Hopi Sunflower seeds and hulls dye to shades of mauves and browns. Recipe by Carol Todd.

Time Line of Major Dye Chemicals and Their Natural Sources
From this un-official SCA site, information on historical dyes.

Traditional Dyes in Guinea
The Quebec Centre for Textile Technology assisted Guinean scientists to develop a better way to extract natural indigo.

Unlocking Nature’s Color Magic
Phyllis Rossiter Modeland tells how the procurement of exotic dyestuffs led to the establishment of trade routes, influenced political policy and the course of history.

Vegetable Dyes – Multifold Advantages
Althought the terrain of Nepal yields over 180 dye-bearing plants, natural dyes are being replaced by chemical dyes, resulting in environmental, social and cultural impacts.

Walnut
Black walnut leaves and husks give deep browns. Recipe by Carol Todd.

The Woad Page
From the Rowan’s Craftbook, growing, processing and dyeing with woad.

Yellow with Safflower
Mannam Carpets’ recipe for dyeing with safflower.

Yuzen Dye Process
Tsutomu Nishino describes the Yuzen dye process that goes into making a kimono.

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30" Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom and Stand - new

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Ikat Weaving: aa100397

What is Ikat? Ikat is a precision dye technique that can create elaborate patterns in woven cloth. In ikat weaving, the design is done by careful dyeing of the warp and weft. First a design is drawn and the warp and weft threads are carefully measured, tied and placed in the dye solution. For fabric of different colours, the ties are removed and the warp is retied and dyed again to create layers of colour.

Ikat
Ikat dyeing can be a very labourious process. Here are some other examples and photos of this method of creating patterns.
In India, sari fabric is woven of silk on frameless looms, taking as long as seven months to complete a sari. The ikat dye process is elaborate, taking up to a month to dye a warp.

The Khemara House in Cambodia trains women to run their own small business. Master weavers are passing on their traditional skills and teaching these women to spin and weave. In Cambodia, traditional dyes were used in the silk weaving. Yellow from the bror hut tree, red for an insect nest called Leak Khmer, black from ebony fruit and blue from indigo. Today chemical dyes are used instead.

In Indonesia both warp and weft Ikat have been developed to create complex textiles of ceremonial significance.

The International Ikat Weaving Forum 1999 brought together scholars and weavers internationally to exchange information about historical, cultural and artistic aspect of Ikat textiles. The impact of modernization on weaving culture is a concern. A revival in the use of natural dyes is being encouraged, training young weavers in the production of “eco-textiles”.

More about Ikat

Weft-faced Ikat

Natural Dyes
Natural Dye Books
Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
Natural Dyes
Botanical Colour at your Fingertips
A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers
Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

more Natural dye books..

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Mirrix Zach 22 Inch Loom

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Weaving Tartans: aa090697

Throughout history Scottish Tartans have been used for showing kinship with a clan. Theclan system started in the 12th Century. Weavers developed their own colours and patterns for the tartans using natural dyestuffs found in their region.

The number of colours used identified rank, from 1 colour for servants to 7 colours for the Chief.

There are a number of on-line databases with information about tartans.
Tartans of Scotland
Electric Scotland
House of Tartan

Tartans are woven in a balanced twill using a striped warp arranged in the specific order of the clan. The colour order is repeated in the weft. The diagonal line of the twill is woven at 45 degrees in order weave a perfect square.

Tartans are generally woven of wool. Other fibers may be used as well if the warp and weft are of the same fiber, and following the specific order of the sett.

The famous Harris tweeds have their own unique scent. This is due to the type of lichen that the yarns are dyed with.

Crottle lichen (Parmelia omphalodes) is boiled with the wool in iron pots to create browns, yellows and golds. Because this lichen was associated with the earth, it was thought that when undertaking a long journey, socks should be dyed with crottle.

Cudbear (Ochrolechia tartarea) lichen gave crimson dyes. The lichen was sun-dried and crushed. It was then steeped in urine for about 3 weeks, before it was boiled in a dyebath. If soaked in ammonia, cudbear produces a bright pink or purple dye. Adding soda to a dyebath gives a red-purple colour and blue-purple with vinegar.

Rock tripe (Umbilicaria mammulata) produced mauve when the wool was treated with ammonia or urine.

Sea Ivory or Grey Beard lichen (Ramalina siliquosa) were used for orange/brown dye. It was also used for starch in making hair powders for wigs during the 18th century.

Natural Dyes

Lichen Dyes
Natural Dyes
Fungi and Natural Dyes

Tartan Books


Tartan (Textiles That Changed the World)
The sett and weaving of tartans
Tartans: Their Art and History

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30" Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom and Stand - new

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End Date: Tuesday Feb-25-2020 13:43:31 PST
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Harrisville Designs 36" 4H/6T Floor Loom and Bench vtg 2004/2005

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End Date: Saturday Mar-21-2020 11:31:59 PDT
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Mirrix Zach 22 Inch Loom

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