Natural Dyeing

Scotland is yellow again, gorse is in bloom. So as last year I was dyeing with gorse . This time though I was braver and put all the dye stuff and alum mordanted merino in one pot  (in layers: gorse-merino-gorse) and left it on the hob on the lowest for several hours.  After the dyebath reached about 90 degrees I left it simmer for an hour and left merino in the pot overnight. Although gorse has thorns, it wasn’t difficult to separate from wool and the end result is rather clean merino (=photo – I didn’t clean it/pick any vegetable particles from gorse).


the palest shade is the original colour, in reality more lemon like, the deeper shades are results of using a bit of washing soda for different lenghts of time at the end of the dyeing process.

I also felted with gorse dyed and brazilwood dyed merino, both fdyed last year. There were some surprises awaiting me…

The original colour of merino which I used for this collar was deep pink, almost as my t-shirt. I embellished the middle part with hot pink merino dyed with acid dyes. After felting the colour turned into very deep purple. I noticed this change before when using this particular merino and knew it would turn back into deep pink after acid bath at the end of felting. But this time, instead of using vinegar I used citric acid dissolved in water – and the colour changed to what you see here….
I think the citric acid is more acidic than vinegar, but will have to make some experiment to see if that was the reason of such colour shift. Or could there be other explenation(s)?


What I am holding in my hand in the next photo is the same merino I used for collar – mostly gorse dyed with a bit of madder dyed merino and gorse dyed silk (all dyed and carded last spring).  After using citric acid the colour is paler,
when I was using vinegar it stayed the same. It seems that citric acid is more agressive.?




8 thoughts on “Natural Dyeing

  1. Gosh, you have been busy with all that dyeing. Love the results, especially the first collar which is gorgeous. I like the crinkled edges. Have fun!

  2. Wow! first of all… beautiful colors! but also… how fascinating to see colors change in front of your eyes! I have no clue as to what the reason might be, but I find it so interesting!

  3. Penny, they are the ones I started making last Saturday in Dingwall. Do you remember the colours, they did change…

    Marian, thanks, so do I – and puzzling! 🙂

  4. i am so fascinated by the process of using natural dyes, and so want to have another go, shall add it to my “to do list”, hope you dont mind i linked to you on my post of today 12th may x

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