Natural Dyeing – Weld


Weld is one of those great weedy plants that holds a secret – it makes a great lightfast yellow dye!!  Weld is one half of the Lincoln Green color said to have colored the cloaks of Robin Hood and his Merry Men (the other half being Saxon Blue).

We are growing Weld this year in our dye garden.  Hee Hee.

The boys and I did some experimenting this month with using the powdered Weld extract produced by Earthhues to see what types of yellow it would produce.  Here is what happened.

We dissolved a half of an ounce of extract, first in tepid water and then by adding boiling water to it until we had at least put the weld in the form of a suspension.  (I don’t think it actually dissolves per se).  We added that to our dye pot full of warm water and then added two skeins of our alum and cream of tartar mordanted wool – 100% merino fingering weight – about 3.5 ounces each.  We started to slowly raise the temperature in the dye pot until it reached 180-200 degrees – which took about 45 minutes.  Then we maintained that temperature as best we could for an hour.  This is what we got.

I would say that was yellow.

I wanted to see if the yarn would take in an even deeper color so I let it sit overnight in the dye bath to cool.  There really was not any color change so I now know not to waste time soaking the yarn from the first dye bath.

Next we washed and rinsed the yarn and spun out the excess water with our salad spinner, which has been pirated from the pantry and moved into the dye supplies cupboard.  Jesse liked helping with the spinning of the yarn.

There was still dye left in the pot so I added another pre-mordanted skein of wool to the pot and heated it again and let it cool overnight.  And when that pot was done there looked like there was still a little dye left in the pot, so we did it again!!

And this is what we got.

I am rather disappointed by these pictures because the lightest color is not showing you the beautiful pale lemony yellow that it is.  The lightest one is my favorite.  Here is a closeup of the darkest toned yarn.

And here is the second dye bath yarn.

These photos were taken on a cloudy grey day so I think the warmth of the color was lost in the light.  Sigh.  When is that photography class again?

So, things I would change if I could on this one.  First, I would have used less dye.  I think that I used too much and it took too long to rinse it all out, resulting in some unnecessary felting and the need for Chip to help me in re-skeining.

Second, I would have dissolved the weld in hot water – not boiling.  I have since learned that boiling weld can turn your color brown and may have given the yarn a darker tone than I was looking to achieve.

Third, I would have hung the yarn to dry prior to rinsing as the rinsing process took too long.

And Fourth – I would have added chalk to the dyebath to make the water more alkaline.

I am learning.

Yesterday I went to the County Clerk’s Office and officially formed Escape To Evermore.  🙂  Time to get serious about all of this.  😉

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About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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5 Responses to Natural Dyeing – Weld

  1. danielle says:

    Wow, that sure is yellow! Except, even on my computer, the lightest one just looks white. It’s so frustrating. I spent my entire lunch break yesterday taking pictures of my ONE new purple skein and even though I tried it in every kind of light, in every part of the house, I still could not get an accurate picture. Are those pots in the pictures the ones you got at Walmart? They’re awesome.

    • Shel says:

      Yes, those are the Walmart pots. And 6 can fit on the stove at the same time!! Woo Hoo!! I got a bunch of candy thermometers too. Next week I will probably post the Logwood and then the following week the Logwood plus Weld, which is cool too. At least the logwood has bluer tones in it so it should photograph better in this light.

  2. Barbara Antonelli says:

    That yellow yarn and its companions look like spaghetti to me…an awful lot of work Shelly, makes me glad I’m in Florida right now…..I think

    • Shelly R. says:

      Aw Mom, you would love it. It would be another story to tell your friends, of Shelly’s kitchen covered in dye pots with all different color yarns being cooked and cooled and colored.

  3. Pingback: Dyeing with Nature – Jake & Maya – The Blog

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