Weld (Reseda luteola) is the most lightfast of the yellow dyes. Ancient tapestry weavers in Central Asia, Turkey and Europe used the dye. Weld is the brightest and clearest yellow flower dye. In combination with iron, weld creates a rich chartreuse, or when overdyed with indigo yields a clear lime green. We carry a very fine grade of weld extract that is also certified for organic textile processing in compliance with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Directions for use included. For best results, use at .5%-3% weight of fiber (wof). Adding a pinch of soda ash and calcium carbonate to weld while you are dissolving it deepens the shade and the color yield from the dyestuff. Leftover dye baths create a lemon yellow shade.
- 25 g of Weld extract will dye approximately 800 grams (1.75 pounds) of fiber to a dark shade
Making Green with Weld and Logwood
It’s not often that you can combine yellow and purple to make green, but weld extract and logwood will yield interesting chartreuses and greens, depending on the strength of the weld and logwood combination. We have tested this recipe on wool but are still testing on cotton and other fibers and will update once the tests are in. Our recipe is as follows.
Chartreuse – Use 3% weld on the weight of fabric and dissolve in hot water. Do not add any auxiliaries such as calcium and soda ash. Then measure and add 0.25% logwood extract and stir well. Add to a dye pot filled with enough water and carefully add a skein of wool yarn. Heat gently to 140F and hold for 45 minutes. Let cool and rinse with cool water, then air dry.
Leaf Green – Use 3% weld on the weight of fabric and dissolve in hot water. Do not add any auxiliaries such as calcium and soda ash. Then measure and add 1.0% logwood extract and stir well. Add to a dye pot filled with enough water and carefully add a skein of wool yarn. Heat gently to 140F and hold for 45 minutes. Let cool and rinse with cool water, then air dry.
Note: It is possible that your dye bath will appear quite purple. Do not freak out – give it some time and you should be able to see the green color appear. Have fun with this!
I was so shocked when I first dyed with weld. I had no idea that this eye-dazzling yellow could come from a weedy looking, grassy smelling plant. All the other yellow dyes I had tried: osage, fustic, pomegranate and myrobalan had been so much more discreet in their yellowness. Their shades were golden, buff, bronze, buttery and very beautiful, melding perfectly into my palette between the rich earthy reds and gentle teals. Weld, on the other hand, was the extrovert. The color that had the lampshade on its head. The color that was standing on the street corner shouting into its cell phone.
My surprise turned to delight once I dipped the bold yellow skein into indigo and got a beautiful lime green. Two dips produced a chartreuse, and multiple dips created a rich emerald. Way too many dips created a blue that had the suggestion of the green underneath it. It was difficult to distinguish on its own, but next to a navy blue yarn, you could see the green peeking through. Magical.
The next color that weld was responsible for was a brilliant tangerine orange when it was combined with a touch of madder. The color was citrus fresh; on silk, it simply glowed. From there I dyed a very sophisticated mossy green with Logwood Grey. More additions of Logwood Grey moved the hue to a warm grey that resembled wet tarmac, a moody and urban color.
For all of its bright and modern pizazz, weld is an ancient color and was used throughout Europe for centuries as the yellow dye that along with woad and madder, anchored the European textile palette. It is the most lightfast of the yellow colorants and yields its amazing yellow hue with an alum mordant.