This was one of the easiest plant dyeing I have ever done. The bright rich yellow you see in the pictures can be achieved on natural wool in the following way.
- Soak the wool in warm water for an hour or more, if you have time. Do not stir, just leave it there.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dye bath – dissolve in warm water two-three tea spoons of powdered turmeric and add a handful of oak bar. I used the usual turmeric spice available in any shop and the oak bark I bought in a 50 g bag in the pharmacy. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, you will find it amongst herbal teas etc.
- Heat the dye bath but avoid boiling, stir occasionally. Please remember not to use the pot for cooking any more.
- Put the soaked yarn into the dye bath and leave it there for as long as you like but not less than an hour. I kept the wool on heat for 2 hours, then I left it in the bath to cool down till the next morning.
- Rinse the wool until the water runs clear. You may add some white vinegar to the last couple of rinsing baths. This will secure the color. Don’t worry about the smell, it goes away very fast.
If the oak bark pieces are very small, place them in a cotton/linen bag before putting them into the bath. This should help you avoid having the pieces all over the yarn.
Oak bark is both a dye and a mordant so no extra colour fixative such as alum is needed.
Dyeing silk with oak bark? I have tried it and it worked very well.
And a short cut: