Historically weld has given the world the most lightfast and washfast yellows. We believed this historically prevalent plant would be a great addition to our experimental natural dye garden at the University of North Texas. Yesterday, the dye garden volunteers were able to finally harvest our weld to create a beautiful dye bath.
First we cut off only the good looking leaves and flowers of the weld plant. We didn’t want any thing that looked burned from our hot Texas sun or that looked immature. Next, we cut up our flowers into small pieces to make it easier for the color to be extracted from the plant. We let the plants soak over night and then placed them in a pot of water and let the pot get to a boil.
You want to use 50% of dried weld to WOF (weight of fiber) and let the plant boil until the the weld flowers and leaves sink to the bottom of the pot(~15min.). Next, you strain the plant material from the dye stock, add a little chalk to the dye bath (if you have some), and place your fiber in the dye pot (at a simmer) until you reach the desired shade (30-40min).
We played around with painted mordants and achieved beautiful dark shades of green by using a iron mordant paint and bright shades of yellow by using an alum acetate mordant paint. You can achieve so many shades from one dye pot by mixing your mordants and thickening them!
More Natural Dye Garden adventures will be posted soon!