Chestnut (Castanea sativa) is a native to Southern Europe. People used it historically for tanning leather in Europe and North America. Our chestnut dye comes from European trees as the great American chestnut habitat has been severely compromised by blight since 1905. Carefully managed chestnut forests produce our chestnut extract. The byproduct that is not extracted for dye is made into pellets. After that, the pellets fuel the energy requirements of the extraction facility. On fibers, chestnut extract yields a soft yellow which is excellent for combining with other colors. In addition, it is great for overdyeing with indigo for a rich teal. The chestnut color yields a warm gray shade with the addition of iron. It is one of those subtle, aromatic dyes that combines with other colors to add an intriguing “pop” to your color palette.
They say that an enterprising squirrel could once travel from Maine to Georgia on the interlocking branches of chestnut trees.
- 100g of Chestnut extract will dye approximately 400 grams (12 ounces) of fiber to a medium shade
From the Feedback Friday series:
When I do the mordant process and use tannin it usually dyes my fabric a brown color. Is there a trick for that NOT to happen?
Tannin is present in a number of different dyestuffs, and depending on how dark it is, does create a brown shade. If you want to use a “clear” tannin like gallo-tannin, the color will be a light yellowish brown, and is normally not noticeable in the final dyed textile. A quick rundown of tannins that are suitable for use are:
Chestnut: light to medium yellow, use at 5-10%