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Vegetable Dyes Being a Book of Recipes and Other Information Useful to the Dyer   By:

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Being a Book of Recipes and Other Information Useful to the Dyer



Faber and Faber Ltd 24 Russell Square London

First published in Mcmxvi by the Ditchling Press Reprinted, for the sixth time April Mcmxxxviii and published by Faber and Faber Limited 24 Russell Square, London Printed at the Ditchling Press, Ditchling All rights reserved



I. Wool, Silk, Cotton and Linen 1

II. Mordants 6

III. British Dye Plants 11

IV. The Lichen Dyes 16

V. Blue 24

VI. Red 31

VII. Yellow 35

VIII. Brown and Black 40

IX. Green 43

X. The Dyeing of Cotton 46

XI. The Dyeing of Silk 56

Glossary 60

Bibliography 63

Index 65



WOOLS are of various kinds:

Highland, Welsh and Irish wools are from small sheep, not far removed from the wild state, with irregular short stapled fleeces.

Forest or Mountain sheep (Herdwick, Exmoor, Cheviot, Blackfaced, Limestone) have better wool, especially the Cheviot, which is very thick and good for milling.

Ancient Upland , such as South Down, are smaller sheep than the last named, but the wool is softer and finer.

Long Woolled sheep , (Lincolns, Leicester) with long staple wool (record length, 36".) and fleeces weighing up to 12 lbs. The Leicester fleece is softer, finer and better than Lincoln.

To the end of the 18th century Spanish wool was the finest and best wool in the world. Spanish sheep have since been introduced into various countries, such as Saxony, Australia, Cape Colony, New Zealand; and some of the best wools now come from the Colonies.

Alpaca, Vicuna and Llama wools are from different species of American goats.

Mohair from the Angora goat of Asia Minor.

Kashmir Wool from the Thibetan goat.

Camel hair, the soft under wool of the camel, which is shed annually.

The colour of wool varies from white to a very dark brown black, with all shades of fawn, grey and brown in between. The natural colours are not absolutely fast to light but tend to bleach slightly with the sun.

The principal fleeces are:

Lambs , 3 to 6 months growth, the finest, softest and most elastic wool.

Hogs and Tegs : the first shearing of sheep that have not been shorn as lambs.

Wethers : all clips succeeding the first shearing.

Wool comes into the market in the following condition. 1. In the grease , not having been washed and containing all the impurities. 2. Washed , with some of the grease removed and fairly clean. 3. Scoured , thoroughly cleaned and all grease removed.

Wool can be dyed either in the fleece, in the yarn, or in the woven cloth. Raw wool always contains a certain amount of natural grease. This should not be washed out until it is ready for dyeing, as the grease keeps the moth out to a considerable extent. Hand spun wool is generally spun in the oil to facilitate spinning. All grease and oil must be scoured out before dyeing is begun, and this must be done very thoroughly or the wool will not take the colour.


A constant supply of clean soft water is an absolute necessity for the dyer. Rain water should be collected as much as possible, as this is the best water to use... Continue reading book >>

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