Archive for the ‘General Dye Information’ Category

Ajrakh – an example of the dyer’s art

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Among the pieces in my textile collection are two hand-printed ajrakh fabrics, from Sind Province in Pakistan, that fill me with particular admiration for the dyer’s skill. So I thought I’d write a little about this fascinating dyeing technique.



This photo shows one of my ajrakh cloths






Ajrakh cloth may be broadly defined as a cotton fabric patterned on one or both sides by means of printing blocks. The background colour is either red or blue and the pattern designs are usually encompassed within square repeats or bound by rectangular ones, with geometrical motifs and circular forms.
These cloths are produced on the Indian sub-continent in Sind, Gujarat and Western Rajasthan and represent a high point in dyeing techniques, requiring extreme skill not only on the part of the dyers but also from the craftsmen who carve the wooden printing blocks.



This shows some of the printing blocks in my collection





Ajrakh cloths are worn mainly by Muslim men, as head coverings, shoulder cloths, lungis (lower garments) or as knee supporters when squatting on the ground. Each piece of cloth is of a set dimension according to its intended use. Sizes vary from 1m x 1m to 2.56m x 1.85m. For the largest pieces, two single widths are joined lengthwise.
Several dyeing methods come together in the making of these cloths:  mordant printing, resist printing (or combinations of the two), the tannin/iron complex for dyeing black, indigo vat dyeing and madder dyeing. The finest ajrakh fabrics are resisted, printed and dyed on both sides of the cloth, with such skill that each side is identical.



This shows how the cloth has been patterned identically on both sides





In the past, ajrakh cloths were dyed using natural madder and indigo dyes. Madder red is obtained from several plant sources on the Indian sub-continent, including Rubia tinctorum, Rubia cordifolia, Rubia munjista, Morinda citrifolia and Oldenlandia umbellata (chay), which all contain the red pigment alizarin. Nowadays, synthetic alizarin is widely used. Similarly, natural indigo blue from Indigofera tinctoria has been largely replaced by synthetic indigo. However, in some areas there is a gradual return to natural dyes.
In addition to the madder and indigo dyes, metallic salts of aluminium and iron are also used and it is pastes of these which are printed onto the fabric, not the dye colour itself. These pastes act as both resists and mordants. The mordant penetrates the fabric, whilst the gum and clay, with which the solution is thickened, protect the fabric from unwanted dye. These pastes are applied to both sides of the cloth, unless only one side is to be patterned.
Preparation of the cloth
The cloth is first washed and beaten with a wooden mallet to smooth the surface and remove any irregularities. It is then dried. Next, the cloth is treated in buffalo milk or a castor oil and sodium carbonate solution, to which water is added. This treatment aids the absorption of mordant and dye and also prevents the mordant salts from crystallizing. Fresh camel, goat or sheep dung, mixed with water, may also be added to the solution and this acts as a bleaching agent. The cloth is then dried overnight and washed the following day.
The next stage involves the application of a tannin solution, usually made from the dried fruits of myrobalan (Terminalia chebula), pounded with water to form a paste then mixed with more water. The wetted cloth is soaked in this solution. The tannin acts as an assistant for the alum mordant and also reacts with the iron mordant to produce black outlines.
Before the cloth is dyed in the indigo vat, all areas not to be dyed blue have to be covered by printing on the appropriate paste solution, using carved wooden blocks. The printing processes are carried out on a wooden bench, covered with 15 to 20 layers of jute, topped by thick cotton fabric, which provides a soft, absorbent work surface.
The preparation of the pastes involves complex processes and the ingredients and methods vary from region to region. The basic principles are as follows:
An iron print solution, usually iron acetate or a ferrous sulphate solution mixed with gum arabic or sorghum and mud or clay, is applied to the areas to be dyed black.
An alum print solution, usually aluminium sulphate mixed with gum arabic or sorghum and mud or clay, is applied to the areas to be dyed red. Sometimes red clay, which gives a fugitive colour, is also added to distinguish it from the iron solution. If some areas of deeper red are required, extra quantities of alum solution are applied to those sections. Alternatively, these sections may receive a second application of alum paste.
Any areas to remain undyed are printed with a paste of gum arabic and mud or clay, sometimes with the addition of lime to ensure the resist paste does not crack.
If both sides are to be identically patterned, the second side is printed before the pastes on the first side have dried completely and while they still remain damp. This ensures uniformity of the printed impressions, as the printed sections of the cloth contract when dry and the fabric would no longer remain flat enough to enable the second side to be printed successfully.
The printed areas are then sprinkled with powdered clay or dung and dried in sunlight for up to two days.
Indigo is the first dye to be applied and the fabric is carefully immersed in the indigo vat, then removed to allow the indigo to oxidise. It is important that the cloth does not remain too long in the vat, otherwise the pastes may begin to soften and the designs would be impaired.
Sometimes two depths of indigo blue may be required. In this case, after the first indigo dyeing process has been completed, the sections to remain at the level of blue achieved from this first immersion are printed with the resist paste, sprinkled with powdered clay or dung and the cloth is then dried. After drying, the cloth is dipped again in the vat, resulting in a deeper blue on the unresisted areas. After oxidisation, the cloth is washed and de-gummed whilst it is still wet and for this the cloth is held under running water, which gently loosens the pastes. This process has to be carried out with great care, to ensure the mordant pastes do not smear, as this would adversely affect the clarity of the designs when dyed.
The next stage is the application of the red madder or alizarin dye. The de-gummed cloth is immersed in the dye solution and simmered for up to two hours. It is then removed and washed before being dried in bright sunlight, which helps to remove any red dye which may have fugitively coloured the indigo-dyed areas or the paste-resisted sections intended to remain undyed. At the same time, the sunlight brightens the madder or alizarin dyed areas which received the alum and iron mordant pastes.
The finished cloth is patterned in blue and red, with black outlines to some designs and some undyed areas, which sometimes tend to be beige as a result of the treatment in the tannin solution.



This shows the other ajrakh cloth from my collection, also patterned identically on each side.




Although the processes involved in ajrakh dyeing are complex and time-consuming and demand considerable knowledge and skill, the basic dyeing principles are relatively simple and may be summed up as follows:
Tannin + iron = black
Alum + madder or alizarin = red
Indigo = blue
Thickened paste solutions = resisted areas
Alum or iron thickened paste solutions = mordanted and resisted areas

So simple and yet so complex!

A Patchwork Rug

Monday, April 5th, 2010




This floor rug for my granddaughter was made from old white woollen blankets.






My preference for making full use of whatever is available, rather than buying something new, is a characteristic my children find rather irritating at times. My frugality in the kitchen is also often the cause of much mockery, especially when I insist on diluting all dishwashing liquids at the rate of 1 part dishwashing liquid to 3 parts water and on using each teabag for at least two cups of tea and even three, if at all possible. However, occasionally they reluctantly agree that waste materials can sometimes be put to good uses.

When I told my daughter that I was making a floor rug for Milly from old woollen blankets, she was less than enthusiastic. But I continued nevertheless. The woollen blanket pieces were mordanted in alum, then dyed using cochineal, madder, weld and indigo. I then used the Log Cabin patchwork technique to piece the strips together. I really love this particular patchwork method, as it seems ideally suited to impatient people like me, especially as it can be easily done on the sewing-machine. The backing for the rug was a single piece of woollen blanket, dyed in indigo, and the rug and its backing were placed with the right sides together and then machine-sewn round three sides. The rug was then turned right-side out and the last seam was stitched by hand. Another advantage of this rug is that it can be machine-washed without risk of shrinking, as any shrinking will have taken place during the simmering of the mordanting and dyeing processes, making it unlikely to shrink further. Indeed, this rug has already successfully withstood several machine washes. And my daughter and granddaughter love it, so I feel my efforts were worth while.

I also made a large floor cushion, using the same techniques.


More Knitted Cushions

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

 The photos below show some cushions I knitted recently for my daughter, who wanted a “modern design using oranges and blues”. I’m not sure to what extent the patterns I designed can be described as “modern” but at least the colours are right! The dyes I used are my old favourites – madder and indigo.

To achieve an orange shade with madder, I used about 25% madder on an alum mordant and then applied an acidic modifier made with clear vinegar. The paler shades were from the exhaust dyebath.

















The knitting technique I used for the cushions is a form of patchwork I use fairly frequently for cushions and bags. I start off with a square or rectangle, then pick up stitches along one side and knit in that direction for a while. I leave these stitches on a spare needle, or a length  of yarn, and then I pick up stitches from another side and knit back and forth along that edge for a while. And so on. The designs develop as I knit and give me plenty of scope for colour patterning as well.

For the reverse side of these cushions, I dyed some woollen fabric in indigo, cut it to size and then stitched it onto the knitting. I made an opening for the cushion pad by overlapping the edges of fabric, as with a pillowcase, so it will be easy to remove the cushion cover for washing.

A Grass from Japan

Friday, November 27th, 2009















The seeds for this grass (Arthraxon hispidus) were sent to me by a Japanese dyer, who explained that this grass is used traditionally by dyers in Japan, where it is common on meadows and roadsides. It is also grown as a dye crop on the island of Hachijo.

The seeds germinated readily when sown in the Spring several years ago and now the plants self-seed, so each year a fresh crop of plants appears.

Arthraxon hispidus contains luteolin, which is the main colour pigment in weld and dyer’s broom. Although the yellows from this Japanese grass are not remarkable, I enjoy growing and using traditional dye plants from other countries, especially when the seeds have been sent to me by a fellow dyer.

The photo below doesn’t really do justice to the colours, which are actually brighter than they appear here. As with weld, the yellows from Arthraxon hispidus can often have a greenish tinge.


Colours from Arthraxon hispidus 

Left to right: No mordant, alum mordant, alum mordant + iron modifier

Dyeing with Damsons

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Aylesb prunes 010This now disused orchard near Eaton Bray in Bedfordshire has many old damson trees of a variety known as Aylesbury Prunes.




This area was known for growing damsons, apparently used to dye hats for the Luton straw hat industry. It has also been suggested that damsons may have been used to dye British Royal Air Force uniforms a blue-grey colour during World War II and damsons were reportedly used in the past as a source of dye colour in the wool industry in the North of England.         

                                                                                                                                                                  Aylesb prunes6

This photo shows the damsons ready to be picked.






I am fortunate that my friend Maggie Stearn, handweaver and dyer, lives in Eaton Bray and she suggested harvesting some damsons for a dyeing experiment, to see just how effective they might be as a source of dye colour. Maggie kindly picked about 20 kilos of damsons, so we had ample for dyeing –  and for freezing and jam-making, too!

For our tests we used the damson skins only, as they seemed the most likely source of dye colour and are rich in tannin which would help fix the dye. However, we did test the fruit pulp as well, just to be sure we weren’t missing an important source of colour, but this only resulted in an unpleasant pale beige colour and sticky pulp that was difficult to remove from the fibres. We used equal weights of skins and fibres and we tested the dye extracted from the skins across a range of fibres (wool, silk, cotton and linen), all mordanted with alum, and used four modifers.

The results of our experiments are below. I have to say that they confirm my feeling that damsons, like most red and purple fruits or berries, do not make particularly useful dyes. In general the colours are disappointing, particularly on wool, although with an iron or copper modifier the colours on the other fibres tested, especially the silk, are more attractive. The greens from the washing soda modifier are interesting and I have achieved similar, but deeper, shades from elderberries with an alkaline modifier. In general, I find it surprising that there should apparently be so many references to damsons as a source of useful dye colour. I can understand that the pale lavender shades achieved on some vegetable fibres, including raffia, might be popular with Victorian ladies for their straw hats, but I find it harder to believe that the colours achieved on wool could really be useful at an industrial level, especially bearing in mind the general unreliability of red and purple berry and fruit dyes. However, I do wonder how many of these references are actually based on solid research, backed up by conclusive evidence, rather than merely on hearsay. I can certainly understand that any abundant local source of dye colour would be valued at times when imported dyes were unavailable or too costly, but I remain unconvinced that the use of damsons for dyeing would be worth the effort nowadays, especially when dyers have access to more reliable sources of purple and lavender shades.


This shows the unmodified samples. From top to bottom: cotton, linen, silk, wool







This shows the modified samples on all four fibres.

Clockwise from top right: acid modifier, alkaline modifier, copper modifier, iron modifier




NOTE: Thanks to Maggie Stearn for all the above photos

Fungus-dyed Jacket

Friday, October 23rd, 2009









 This jacket was knitted using only wool dyed with the fungus Cortinarius semisanguineus, which I obtained from Finland. The pattern is one I devised myself and the front bands have been crocheted rather than knitted. I often use crochet for edgings, partly because it gives a firm border but mainly because it’s quicker. (Yes, I know that speed is not really a valid reason for design choices and I confess to laziness at times!) The skeins from which the upper section of the body was knitted were dyed using different modifiers to give a variegated effect.








This is the reverse of the jacket. The keen-eyed viewer may notice that the colours in the upper variegated section of the back are slightly different from those on the variegated sections of the fronts and sleeves. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of the same wool for the back, so I used a skein I bought from Leena in Finland, also dyed in Cortinarius semisanguineus. But the colours all seem to blend in well together.


 This is the first in what I plan as a series of knitted cushion-covers, dyed with various fungi. This one was dyed using what remained from the skeins dyed with Cortinarius semisanguineus, after I’d knitted my jacket.

Maggie Stearn – Handweaver

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Jenny1 greybThis scarf was handwoven by Maggie Stearn, using a mixture of handspun merino wool and some silk yarns, all naturally-dyed by me, using extracts of logwood, madder, fustic and cochineal. The handspun wool was so fine that I knew I’d never use it for knitting, so I commissioned Maggie to make this scarf for me, incorporating some silk yarns as well. I was thrilled with the results and love wearing this scarf. Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t do justice to the sheen and drape of the scarf, or to the subtlety of the design and colours. 

I have the utmost respect for the craft of handweaving and I know I would never be capable of the application and skill required to see a weaving project through from start to finish. In fact, a kind friend did set up my 2-shaft table loom for me about 30 years ago and I’m ashamed to say that I’d lost the will to live before she’d finished warping it. So I wove a couple of inches and then gave the loom away to someone who was doing some work on our outbuildings and expressed an interest in weaving. I have to say that I’ve never regretted this impulsive act as, once I’d admitted to myself that I lack the strength of character required to become a weaver, I was free to explore the delights of natural dyeing and handspinning without feeling obliged to continue weaving as well.

A few years ago I was asked by handweaver, Maggie Stearn, if I would be prepared to dye some silk skeins for her handwoven scarves and shawls, as she was interested in developing a range of naturally-dyed items. This seemed like a good challenge, partly because silk is not a fibre I regularly work with and partly because it would give me an insight into some of the colour considerations that play a part in designing for weaving. Also, as the fine silk Maggie uses weighs so little, I would be able to handle the wet skeins relatively easily. (I used to dye large quantities of wool for an Irish blanket weaver and had great problems with mordanting and dyeing the weights involved. After I had badly scalded myself with boiling water, I decided I could no longer dye such heavy batches.)

Maggie trained at Wall Hall College under the tutelage of Mike Halsey, a well-known British weaver, and started off weaving fabric lengths, usually in wool. After some years gaining more experience of the market, she decided to produce mainly silk scarves and shawls, with some cushions and bags, and all in the most beautiful colour combinations. So it was a privilege to become part of her production processes.

Last year I had operations on my right arm and also on my knee, which meant I was unable to do much dyeing for Maggie, but I am now feeling fit enough to start again and looking forward to whatever colour challenges she decides to set me.

Below are some more of Maggie’s scarves. Look at her website (  for details of the full range and how to order.

Jenny maroon1The dyes used here are extracts of cochineal and logwood.






Naturals BEIGEThe dyes used here are extracts of rhubarb root, quebracho, wattle and walnut, with a small indigo stripe.





 Naturals CINNAMON

The dyes used here are extracts of quebracho, wattle and walnut, with some fustic and indigo.




Naturals LIMEThis scarf was dyed using extracts of weld, cochineal, walnut and logwood, with some indigo as well.

A Dahlia Mystery

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I was contacted a little while ago by Carol Leonard, an old friend, fellow dyer & spindle-spinning expert, who wondered if I could shed some light on an interesting result from a dahlia dyebath.

Carol explained that a student on one of her spinning courses had tried a dye experiment, using dahlias that had been in the house for a few days in a vase and were past their best. She used no mordant and, she thought, an aluminium pan and the pan and the skeins (wool and mohair) had been properly cleaned. She simmered the flower heads, then put the yarns in with them.  When she removed the skeins there was the faintest pink colour on them, most of which disappeared when the water was drained from them.  So she put the yarns back into the pan with the flower heads, put the pan on one side and then forgot about it for a couple of weeks.  During that time, mould grew on the surface, and the dyebath probably fermented.  When she next looked at the skeins, they had become a bright pink.

Carol wondered whether the fermentation had produced an alkaline bath, which caused the skeins to turn pink. Fermentation may certainly have played a part, although I would have thought this would make the dyebath more acidic, rather than more alkaline. (At least that’s the case in indigo fermentation vats, when washing soda has to be added from time to time to maintain an alkaline pH.) An alkaline modifier usually produces vivid orange-rust colours with dahlias, but I’ve never got a pink. 

However, I think one clue to this colour may lie in the fact that the dahlias were purchased from Asda supermarket. Sometimes flowers purchased from florists or supermarkets have been dyed extremely bright colours, probably to produce colour-co-ordinated bouquets. I’ve been given bunches of beautifully-arranged and brightly-coloured florist’s flowers only to discover that they had been dyed. This became clear when much of the colour came off on my hands, and also into the water, when I put the flowers into a vase. So perhaps this pink was a result of some dye on the dahlias, which then leached into the water in the dyebath.

I wonder whether anyone else can offer any other suggestions as to the reasons for this fascinating and puzzling colour result?

I have some pink dahlias in a vase as I write this, so when they have faded they will be destined for the dyepot. I will be interested to see whether I can get similar results from a fermentation dyebath, but I suspect I will not, as my dahlias have come directly from the garden and have most definitely not been dyed!


This photo shows the wonderful pink shade from the fermented dahlia dyebath.

P.S. to Yellows

Friday, September 25th, 2009



Coreopsis growing in my garden







This is one of the delights of Autumn in my garden. I love the combination of the yellow of the coreopsis flowers and the deep lavender blue of these michaelmas daisies.



In my earlier post on yellows I made only a passing reference to coreopsis. However, now that I’m enjoying the wonderful glowing yellows of the coreopsis flowers in my garden, it seems appropriate to write a little more about these delightful plants. There are several species of coreopsis and all make good dye plants. Many are perennials and some will spread very rapidly, so caution may be necessary in a small garden. We have had perennial coreopsis in our garden for many years and the wonderful display they give in late Summer and early Autumn more than compensates for any need to remove surplus plants from time to time.

The flowers can be enjoyed while in full bloom and then harvested for the dyepot when the plants are deadheaded. Once the flowering season is over, the whole plant tops can also be used in the dyepot. A dyebath made from the flowers alone will give rich yellows and golds, while the whole plant tops give greener or browner shades. For increased fastness and really bright yellows, I usually use an alum mordant with coreopsis. However, the dye will fix on ummordanted wool, especially when an iron modifier is used, although this shifts the colour towards green or brown. Most species of coreopsis give similar colours, with the exception of the annual plant, dyer’s coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria), which gives shades with a more orange tone. This plant is well worth growing in a flower border for its charming blooms alone, and the colours it gives in the dyepot are an added bonus for dyers.


Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

As I have recently harvested some of my dyer’s broom and gathered some weld from the roadside, my thoughts have been turning to sources of yellow dye.

IMG_2287This weld was growing on some waste ground at the roadside. When I harvest weld from the wild, I always make sure to cut each stem above the last two or three side shoots, so they can develop and produce flowers and seeds for the next crop. I also shake some seeds from the harvested stems on to the ground below the plants.

                                                                                                                                                                           IMG_2371Some of the dyer’s broom growing in my garden. This plant is easy to harvest, as I treat harvesting for the dyepot as a way of pruning the bushes. In good summers,  it’s possible to harvest dyer’s broom twice – once in late June and again in September.


 Yellow is the most common colour available from plants and is usually the one with the poorest light fastness. I think it is probably also a colour dyers tend to require less frequently, unless they are using yellow to create greens in combination with indigo. When dyeing yarns or fabrics for items of clothing, or for furnishing fabrics, yellow tends to be required mainly in relatively small quantities to provide contrast with other colours. Creative artists may use yellow more frequently in tapestries or wall hangings and in these situations the fastness of the source of yellow dye is particularly crucial. Of the numerous sources of yellow available, weld (Reseda luteola)  is one of the most permanent, although technically it has a low fastness rating because of its tendency to “fade”. (See Gill Dalby’s “Fast or Fugitive” for details of light and wash fastness ratings of dyes). However, the term “fade” refers technically to any change in colour, not only to a reduction in depth of colour, and weld actually “fades” to a darker, rather than a lighter, hue as time passes. This means that, although weld may lose some of its brilliance over the years, it will not usually become significantly paler. So when selecting a source of yellow, weld is my first choice, with dyer’s broom (Genista tinctoria) a close second. Dyer’s broom contains many of the same dye pigments as weld and produces very similar yellows, although they may not always have the brilliance of yellows from weld. Weld and dyer’s broom are traditional European dyes and are also easy to grow. Weld is a biennial so it needs to be re-sown, but dyer’s broom is a perennial shrub, which is also a very attractive garden plant.  Both dyes are best used with an alum mordant, although they will produce reasonably strong shades on unmordanted wool if followed by an alkaline modifier, such as washing soda or wood-ash-water. When used fresh, weld and dyer’s broom sometimes give stronger, more acidic yellow colours than those obtainable from the dried dyestuffs. If you gather weld or dyer’s broom and dry it for storage, it is best stored in closed brown paper sacks, well away from the light.  If stored in this way, the dried dyestuffs should give good, strong colours in the dyebath.

Rhubarb root (Rheum spp.) is also a very useful source of yellows, particularly as rhubarb root can be used without a mordant. Both culinary rhubarb and ornamental rhubarb can be used for dyeing. I find it best to chop up the root before it is dried as, once dried, the root can be very difficuilt to cut up because it is so fibrous. Another method is to reduce the root to useful-sized chunks, (50gms for example) and then freeze the chunks separately in clearly-labelled plastic bags. Freezing breaks down the fibres, so the root is much easier to chop when thawed out. Rhubarb is not poisonous but it is a common ingredient in laxatives, so it is advisable not to mistake it for a foodstuff when you remove it from the freezer. I usually label it not only on the outside of the plastic bag, but also on a piece of stiff card, which I put inside the bag. Rhubarb root is a strong dye and as little as 25% – 30% will usually give a good, clear yellow. If you use too high a percentage, you may miss the yellow and end up with a mustard colour, so it is better to start with a little and then re-dye if necessary to build up the colour. However, if you do end up with mustard, using an acidic modifier (clear vinegar, for example) will usually shift the colour to yellow.

Of the yellow dyes not native to Europe, fustic (Chlorophora tinctoria) is, in my opinion, one of the best. Some dyers may be lucky enough to be able to obtain Quercitron, the inner bark of the black oak tree, from the USA. This dye source was highly prized in the past for the beauty and clarity of its colour and for its fastness properties, but is rarely available in the UK. A little while ago I was kindly sent some from the USA and I was delighted with the glorious colours it gave, so if you find quercitron on offer anywhere, I would highly recommend it.

Many other garden plants provide sources of yellow – indeed the majority of plants will yield some sort of yellow or beige. The Spring leaves of most fruit trees give yellows and even Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens balsamina), which grows so rampantly here along riverbanks and at roadsides, will give very pretty shades of buttery yellow. Among the most useful readily-obtainable sources of yellow are birch leaves (Betula spp.), goldenrod (Solidago spp.), dyer’s chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria), coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.), and tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). And I mustn’t forget buddleia, which featured in an earlier post.

IMG_2349Dyer’s chamomile growing  in my garden. I rarely use the flowers for the dyepot as they look so pretty on the plants. There are several varieties of Anthemis tinctoria available from garden centres and all are lovely garden plants. Although a relatively short-lived perennial, dyer’s chamomile seeds itself readily, so it’s not usually necessary to buy new plants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  IMG_2348                                                                                                                                                            Goldenrod in my garden. Some gardeners dislike goldenrod, as it spreads so rapidly, but I value it, not only as a useful source of dye colour, but also as an attractive garden plant, especially when grown next to a deep purple buddleia. 

Other dyers will no doubt have their own favourite yellow-producing plants and of course there are many plants that give shades of mustard, rather than a clear yellow. I have concentrated here on my own favourite readily-available or easily-grown sources of yellow and I apologise for any serious omissions.


This alum-mordanted wool skein was dyed with goldenrod, using alkaline and iron modifers to create the colour variations.