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Two questions from a lurker

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  • Alyson
    I am attempting to achieve a nice earthy orangish colour. Can Henna be used as a dye and if so,what natural mordant does anyone recommend. I will not use
    Message 1 of 4 , May 18, 2011
      I am attempting to achieve a nice earthy orangish colour. Can Henna be used as a dye and if so,what natural mordant does anyone recommend. I will not use Chrome because of health issues.
      Second: I have a nice alum/cream of tarter bath going. Can I add some salt or vinager since I was a little short one both the alum and C.O.T? Or will I be creating a nice and dangerous chemical reaction in my pot and kitchen? 
      Thanks,
      Cempestra O'Breoniann the Celt

       
      One cannot silly-walk into Mordor.
    • Carowyn Silveroak
      Greetings! ... used as a dye and if so,what natural mordant does anyone recommend. I will not use Chrome because of health issues. You don t need to use chrome
      Message 2 of 4 , May 18, 2011
         
        Greetings!
         
        >I am attempting to achieve a nice earthy orangish colour. Can
        Henna be used as a dye and if so,what natural mordant does anyone recommend. I will not use Chrome because of health issues.
         
        You don't need to use chrome - it "brightens" colors, and since you're going for an earth tone, you wouldn't want it.  Tin also brightens, and iron "saddens" colors.  But for henna, you don't need any mordant anyways.
         
        Are you using the recipe that calls for coffee?  If so, you're already using a mordant that saddens, the tannin. 
         
        If henna doesn't give you the color you're going for, try madder.  it's usually one of the go-to dyes for bright red, but if you over boil it, you get a neat orangey with brown undertones (more brown if you really boil the bejeebers out of it - don't ask me how I know!)
         
        I wouldn't worry about adding salt or vinegar if you've got the alum / COT bath going.  Salt fixes the dye in the cloth, and adding it too early doesn't give you saturation.  The vinegar may shift your color if you change the pH enough (cochineal is a good one for that).
         
        One thing with mordants: usually less is more.  You don't need more than a tiny pinch, even for big dyebaths.  For tin, I just boil my old cookie cutters in the water, then add dye and fiber after fishing them out.  That's all you need.
         
        If you have any other questions, fire away!  There's also an SCA dye list with *very* knowledgeable people.  If you'd like to get on, let me know, and I'll shoot you an email with the directions.
         
        -Carowyn
         
         


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      • Alyson
        Are you using the recipe that calls for coffee?  If so, you re already using a mordant that saddens, the tannin. I don t have a recipe that calls for coffee
        Message 3 of 4 , May 18, 2011
          Are you using the recipe that calls for coffee?  If so, you're already using a mordant that saddens, the tannin.
          I don't have a recipe that calls for coffee although I have looked for one. I did add a little coffee to it but did not add a lot of henna. I was actually not aware that henna had tannins. I use a henna as a hair wash and know that it fades a bit.
           
          For tin, I just boil my old cookie cutters in the water, then add dye and fiber after fishing them out.  That's all you need.
          Wow! That is a great idea! I was wondering how to get tin. Can cooper be used the same way? I have some copper cookie cutters and some cooper wires. Can I boil them as a mordant and how often can I use them before they lose their ability to contribute to the water (I know cooper is an element that does not degrade).
           
          We have a high concentration of iron in our water and sulfur although most of the sulfur is filtered out due to the water softener.

          Right now my mixture is boiling and the cloth colour is slightly yellow/beige. I am going to soak it overnight. I also got carried away and added cinnamon. I read that it does not dye evenly but I like the variation.

          I was also not aware that less mordant is more. I've usually used herbal dyes that usually stain. So this is my first venture into herbal dyes that don't involve grass or teas or berries.

          Thank you!
          Cemper
           
          One cannot silly-walk into Mordor.


          From: Carowyn Silveroak <silveroak@...>
          To: SCA-Herbalist@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 7:34 PM
          Subject: Re: [SCA-Herbalist] Two questions from a lurker

           
           
          Greetings!
           
          >I am attempting to achieve a nice earthy orangish colour. Can
          Henna be used as a dye and if so,what natural mordant does anyone recommend. I will not use Chrome because of health issues.
           
          You don't need to use chrome - it "brightens" colors, and since you're going for an earth tone, you wouldn't want it.  Tin also brightens, and iron "saddens" colors.  But for henna, you don't need any mordant anyways.
           
          Are you using the recipe that calls for coffee?  If so, you're already using a mordant that saddens, the tannin. 
           
          If henna doesn't give you the color you're going for, try madder.  it's usually one of the go-to dyes for bright red, but if you over boil it, you get a neat orangey with brown undertones (more brown if you really boil the bejeebers out of it - don't ask me how I know!)
           
          I wouldn't worry about adding salt or vinegar if you've got the alum / COT bath going.  Salt fixes the dye in the cloth, and adding it too early doesn't give you saturation.  The vinegar may shift your color if you change the pH enough (cochineal is a good one for that).
           
          One thing with mordants: usually less is more.  You don't need more than a tiny pinch, even for big dyebaths.  For tin, I just boil my old cookie cutters in the water, then add dye and fiber after fishing them out.  That's all you need.
           
          If you have any other questions, fire away!  There's also an SCA dye list with *very* knowledgeable people.  If you'd like to get on, let me know, and I'll shoot you an email with the directions.
           
          -Carowyn
           
           


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        • Carowyn Silveroak
          Hi again! ... one. I did add a little coffee to it but did not add a lot of henna. I was actually not aware that henna had tannins. I use a henna as a hair
          Message 4 of 4 , May 18, 2011
            
             
            Hi again!
             
            >I don't have a recipe that calls for
            coffee although I have looked for one. I did add a little coffee to it but did not add a lot of henna. I was actually not aware that henna had tannins. I use a henna as a hair wash and know that it fades a bit.
            All herbal dyes fade over time, it's just a matter of how well they stand up.  How "fugitive" it is usually depends on the dyestuff.  Henna holds up well, safflower for instance doesn't.
             
            Most dyestuffs that are wood based have some tannins in them; most herbs do have some, it's just that most don't have enough to affect the color. 
             
            >Wow! That is a great idea! I was
            wondering how to get tin. Can copper be used the same way? I have some copper cookie cutters and some copper wires. Can I boil them as a mordant and how often can I use them before they lose their ability to contribute to the water (I know copper is an element that does not degrade).
            With copper, and iron, I have 2 glass bottles.  Each has a handful of metal in the base, and I filled it up with vinegar.  That puts the metal into solution, and ready for the dyepot!  And again, all you need are 2 tablespoonfuls in a large pot to do the work.  And when you run out of copper liquor or iron liquor, just add more vinegar till you have no metal in the bottom of the bottle!
             
            >We have a high concentration of iron in our water and sulfur although
            most of the sulfur is filtered out due to the water softener.
            Then you probably don't need to add any more iron.  And with the tap water, you might get manganese - bonus!  It shifts everything into purple-ish hues, which I love (I looove dyeing with Pennsic water!) 
             
            (My cochineal dyebaths go right to purple, none of this crimson nonsense!  ;-)  But driving 30 minutes west and using a friend's tap water, I have 2 bottles of crimson sitting on my oven.  Cool!)
             
            >Right now my mixture is boiling and the cloth colour is slightly
            yellow/beige. I am going to soak it overnight. I also got carried away and added cinnamon. I read that it does not dye evenly but I like the variation.
            Cinnamon will shift things into red-brown.  I use it a lot.  Using broken-up sticks is better than using powdered - the powder turns into this jellylike substance that clings to *every*thing, will not go away, and demands voting rights!!  It's scary!!  I have an old pot that I boil cinnamon in every holiday season to give a pleasant scent to the air, and while it's right there doing nothing but smelling nice, might as well give me some pretty colors on fabric, yes?  So I toss stuff in.  I also dye bone beads a lot, so when the season ends, the leftover dye and beads go into one of the ubiquitous Snapple bottles lying around, seal it up, put it under the table....and forget about it for a year.  Boy do I have nice-colored beads next year!
             
            >I was also not aware that less mordant is more. I've usually used
            herbal dyes that usually stain. So this is my first venture into herbal dyes that don't involve grass or teas or berries.
            Most of the "how to dye" journals of the 70's were heavy into lots of mordant, and it gives you brittle fiber.  (Which is why conservators from Victorian into Civ War have such problems with chocolate silk - that's iron mordant, and it eats the cloth away!)  I just added alum to a dandelion root pot I have going, and it was less than 2 sprinkles from a salt shaker's worth. 
             
            Hey, things you learn....!
             
            OH, and keep a journal of all your recipes!  You never know what you add on the fly that will give you a cool effect later, so keep notes!  (Two words - GALL BLADDER!!  Who knew??)
             
            -Carowyn
             


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