FEEDBACK FRIDAY: This Week in Natural Dye Questions (Red Edition)

Each week, we are emailed with questions from our natural dye community asking simple and complex questions that we thought might be worth sharing. Here are a handful from this week answered by natural dyer in chief, Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors: I really want to get a deep red what should I use?  These instructions are for wool or silk.  This color is trickier to achieve on cotton or linen. If available, use filtered, distilled or reverse osmosis water for the dye bath. Scour fibers well and mordant at 20% aluminum sulfate and let the fibers soak in … Read more

Dyeing For Dummies: The Wonders of Cochineal

Like I’ve said before, working for a natural dye guru like Kathy Hattori can give one an inferiority complex. I hate inferiority complexes for me or anyone else, so when feeling less than, I say take on the thing that most scares you (unless it’s skiing). In this particular case, I accepted the challenge of cochineal and a Tussah Silk Gauze Shawl that is also on the Botanical Colors site. In the instructions that Kathy gave me, it said to use a coffee grinder or spice mill to grind up 1 tablespoon of whole cochineal (for a dark red which … Read more

Today’s Color: Madder Red

Madder is one of the historical dyes of antiquity and has been used throughout Europe, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent for centuries.  It is possible to see antique textiles from the 16th and 17th century that have been dyed with madder and the colors remain rich and vivid.  The famous Turkey Red recipe was based on madder and incorporated many steps and immersions in different baths of soap, alum, dung, ox bile and oil to achieve the famous bright red color prized throughout Europe.  Botanical Colors  madder extract is easy to use and produces a deep, beautiful red without the hassle … Read more