Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dyeing before Christmas

I have been collecting onion shells for a while now and decided last night that I had enough to try a little dyeing. I had seen the great results on Slingerbult´s page and have wanted to try it ever since. So I decides on dyeing small bundles of embroidery yarn which had been treated with alum. All three went in and and they took in the colour great. So I tried using ironsulfur for one of them (? - the danish word is jernvitriol). The colurs of the ones that had only been in onion shells went quite orange and the one treated with iron in the end went dark brown. I must say that I´m really happy about the result although the yarn is a bit spottet. I think this is due to the alum and that I didn´t move the yarn as much as I should have.

So filled with succes I wanted to try something else. My dear friend Christopher bought safran to me last time he was in Spain. It is much cheaper there than here in Denmark so he was so kind as to bring some home for me. It is said to be one of the most expensive/luxuary colours in the middle ages, next to indigo and kermes. I tried with a small bundle of yarn again and use about 4-5 grams of safran. It really doesn´t take much before it dyes and the colour is very strong so be careful not to make a mess with it.

The end result is SO beautiful! The colour is very yellow and very rich. So it is easy to understand that people wanted that colour. It was a great succes and I going to have Christopher to buy me some more safran in Spain next time he goes.

I put the yellow next to some of the other natual dyed colours that I have in my embroideri kit at the moment. On the to next to the safran it is madder. In the bottom it is indigo and an yellow that has been dipped in indigo.


  1. I have used it without mordant on Silk. which gave me a lovely golden hue. Also i used red onions one time wich gave me a slightly rose tinted *skin like color*

  2. Very impressive result, especialy dyeing with safron-beatiful bright yellow!

  3. I would like to dye some silk but I don´t have any which is suited for dying at the moment.

    And yes the safron is very nice! So I hope my friend brings me plenty of safron home with him from Spain :0)

  4. use dyeing before Xmas as I use it as "Dyeing over open fire".In German you think about two meanings ,when you dont know what I do.Anyone who dont know it ask me "You die over open fire"???;-)

  5. thanks for the nice information. its gonna be christmas now

  6. Beautiful colours, good to show that everything was not necessarily subdued colours in the middle ages.

    If you want more dyestuff from Spain I am sure my friend Anna Champeney would post stuff. She is a hand weaver in Galicia and does lots of natural dying.