Friday, 16 November 2007

Dyeing for a Hat

I have just had a very nice commission to dye 300g of merino for a mediaval felt hat . We have settled on the madder brown but instead of using the madder chips to boil with after all the other colours have been extracted I am going to boil the chips straight off after a soak of a few days at least. I have not done this except by accident when the resulting colour was absolutely fabulous some years ago and the person for whom the hat is intended is more than happy being herself very familiar with madder colours. So yum! ( I think I will sneak in 100g for me!) In fact late as it is I think I will sneak out to the studio while DH is watching Children in Need and put the madder into soak.

The purple loostrife is rinsed. A huge amount of colour rinsed off and as I suspected I will be left with a pale grey. A photo will appear when the fibres are dry.

We have had two very cold nights here ( well for us) one night of a heavy frost with crisp grass and white roofs). The Japanese polygonum is however looking very happy and in full flower!Someone on Natural Dyes Online said she suspected that it is hardier than generally thought and it looks as if she might be right. The last of the woad looks a bit limp but is still hanging in there so I hope to get a play with that on Sunday.


  1. I am not sure about the polygonum - it lasted through until end of january for me, despite the big hole I had in the polytunnel plastic. it only died on me afterwards, when we already had several slightly frosty nights. so maybe it had nothing to do with the temperature - and was more down to lack of watering maybe? they do wilt quickly when it's warmer and the moisture goes down!

  2. Hi Bettina I wonder whether it will stand up to light frosts but not to prolonged periods of cold. I am in a very sheltered spot here. We were out and about on Thursday where everywhere was 3 degrees C but back here it was 5 or 6. Plus we have the rain! :) as I am sure you do so it will be interesting to see how it goes and whether it survives the winter.