Woollenmatters suggested a hashtag on Instagram to celebrate the humble dock as a dye plant. She had a lovely photo of four skeins ranging in colour from a rich yellow, through rust and tan and finally a dark brown. It was a quiet day and feeling inspired I thought I’d give it a go.
Trying to keep within the idea of dye plants from the garden I used Rumex sanguineus the Red Veined Dock or Bloody Dock.
It would seed itself everywhere in our garden if we let it. There are his and her plants in the garden and this is a definite his plant. I waited until he wasn’t looking and pulled all the leaves off.
I managed 35g of leaves, covered them with a litre of tap water and slowly heated.
The water was pink.
In my excitement of having something instead of yellow I added a soaked 20g skein of BFL mordanted with 10% alum without bothering to strain the leaves.
It turned green.
The weirdest thing.
I left it a couple of weeks and saw some lovely yellows appearing on the hashtag page. Perhaps my dock had been too exotic, a walk down by the river supplied me with Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) and Broad Leaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius). The Curly Dock seemed to grow on the very banks of the river where it is tidal. The Broad Leaved Dock started about five meters from the bank.
With the Bloody Dock again I made up three pans, one for each dock, just covering the leaves with tap water and simmering for an hour. They look like they should be made in to jellies.
An alum mordanted 20g skein of BFL went in to each cool pan and simmered for an hour. This time I got brown/dark khaki not green from the Bloody Dock
From left Broad Leaved Dock, Curly Dock, Bloody Dock and Bloody Dock (first dye).
Well I got the yellows I saw on Instagram but even drying on the line you could see the colour change and darken. It was a sunny day but they were only out for about eight hours not a stable colour unless the colour matures and then stays that shade.
I shall test them all for fading and see how much the colours change.