short walk

around Loch Ness and a rather long list of natural dyes

Foxglove, pink-purple or white, roots give yellow color

Heather, should give yellowy-brown if flowers are used only. However, after my first attempt, the wool dyed pale green and vegetable fibres pale pink. I have read the depth of the color depends on how much the flowers are opened so maybe that’s the answer. Traditionally it was used to produce black colour with iron. (1)

Hemp Agrimony, known as ‘strawberries and cream’ because of the pink color of the flowers. Flowers only should yield yellow, the whole tops light tea.

Blackberries, will be ready in early autumn. Leaves produce yellow, fruit light purple which is not very fast but can be overdyed to achieve interesting hues.

Buttercups will give yellow.

Leaves of a Rowan tree. “The leaves produce soft greeny-golds. Leafy twigs give similar shades, and the tannin in the twig bark increases colourfastness.” (2)

Wild Carrot or Queen’s Ann’s Lace, the area is flooded with this plant at the moment. I have tried to dye with it and got greeniest of all yellows I have ever achieved.

Elder, flowers give yellow, bark soft grey and berries purple.

Bracken the size of an adult… 

the birch bark on the mossy ground and trees covered in various lichens…

… and blueberries, better for the tummy than for a dye pot.

A list of natural dyes used traditionally in making tartan and tweed found in the former woollen mill converted into shops. The place showcases wool processing in Scotland in the past days as well as some of the tools – spinning wheels and a rather complicated metal weaving loom.

* literature *

  1.  Natural Dyes, Judy Hardman and Sally Pinhey
  2. Wild Colour, Jenny Dean
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4 thoughts on “short walk

  1. what an interesting walk you took! I’ve been wanting to go out and harvest some of the St John’s wort flowers I see everywhere but I keep forgetting.
    Lovely area where you leave, so much to collect!

  2. try stewing that Queen Anne’s lace in a copper pot and letting it sit a couple of days before dyeing for a truly spectacular green…

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