i took the plunge and dyed with alkanet.

alkanet root chips

I didn’t premordant the wool as I was lookig for grey with least lavender shade. I used ratio 1:4 (dye:wool), boiled the dyestuff, left sit overnight, strained, entered the wool and simmered for an hour.  I like to leave a dye plant in the pot and cook it with the fibre but I have noticed on a felted sample piece that the chips are hard to remove from the surface and leave unpleasant marks, so this time I used just the liquoir after extracting the dye. The color is lavender grey.

alkanet dyed merino, the non mordanted and non modified fibre in the front

I was interested if I could modify the color after the dyeing so put part of the wool into a vessel with vinegar and another part with washing soda. While vinegar hasn’t changed the color much, the washing soda (alkaline) has shifted it towards blue and the resulting color is steal grey, mix of grey and teal with a hint of green.

vinegar modified merino in the front, non modified on the left, washing soda modified on the right

alkanet dyed merino wool modified with washing soda after dyeing

Next time I will boil the roots in a stainless steal pot, I used aluminium one and the dyestuff stained it very much.


  • Linda Rudkin, Natural Dyes
  • Jenny Dean, Colours from Nature and Wild Colour
  • Jackie Crook, Natural Dyeing
  • Gill Dalby, Natural Dyes, Fast or Fugitive
  • J. Hardman and S. Pinhey, Natural Dyes

5 thoughts on “so…

  1. The colours are very nice. I have never tried alkanet but will put it in the list.
    I look at your list of books and I notice I lack most of them! To the shopping list!

  2. I, too, like the color, it has got potential, also when blended with other naturally dyed wool.
    Re books, the fourth one is very good, small in size but offers info on light and washfastness. I got it from PM Woolcraft.

  3. Hi Monika.
    I saw your post the other day, but was to busy to answer – and now you have gone ahead and tried it…..lovely result.
    I’m just looking at my very old notes from when I went to school. We used to let it sit over night in a jar with methylated spirits, then strain it and save the root for next time. I also have some new info on it, can’t remember where it is right now, but I can find it an email it to you if you wish? It also has info on some other plant dyes.
    I got a very nice soft purple on cotton – I think it was premordanted with alum though.

  4. Hello, lovely alkanet results. I also like to dye cotton with alkanet, I get some lovely ‘dove grey’ tones… Soaking the root in alcohol and then dyeing is one way of obtaining a more purple shade – but I really like the greys. You could also try soaking your dyed wool in a jar with coppers, as the colour may dull slightly. Best wishes, Cathy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s