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Re: [SCA-Herbalist] Two questions from a lurker

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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 1 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??)

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