Tannins on Wool

8 Sep

So, in the meantime I’ve been soaking some tannin material for use on my rug wool. Some of these have been soaking since last year. We had a great crop of acorns a year ago. Those have been fermenting away.

I’ve collected many oak galls during my lichen gathering over the past two years. Those have been soaking in 8 oz jars, it’s all about the pickle jars and how much they can hold!

We lost an oak to the drought and the woodpeckers & raccoons thoughtfully stripped the bark for me.

Friends north of here, both in Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania have gifted med with various species of walnuts.

All of these colors were done with a minimum of dyestuff to see what I could get with a minimum of effort. Really, I am lazy! All are mordanted with alum sulfate at 12% wof, rinsed and cured for about a month before dyeing

My favorite color is the oak gall. I am prepping for a much larger dye run in the next batch. It will make a beautiful neutral with the lichen rose & garnet tones. I am starting to visualize a rug series based on a water motif using the colors from my valley.

It is tough to capture the different tannin tones. In summary, I would describe them as acorn-golden tones, oak bark-silver brown, oak gall-rose brown, and walnut-light brown.

Walnut will get redipped to push darker and I think the others will get an iron modifier to see how dark they go.




3 Responses to “Tannins on Wool”

  1. Sandra Rude October 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Hi, Deb,
    How did you process the acorns? Crush them, then soak in water? I’ve got a thousand oak trees on the property, and the acorn crop is huge this year, after we took down one tree that had 3 flocks of woodpeckers in it – they aren’t harvesting the acorns as much, so there are plenty for me.
    — Sandra


    • debmcclintock October 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

      ah….thousands of oak trees, good for you…lots of tannin. I collect the acorns and put about 8 ounces per jar in water to soak. Depends on your jar size. They are easier to crush after one week of soaking. I let them soak another couple of weeks to leach the tannin out. The smell at first is like a cider. It’s made me look for fermented acorn recipes but so far I’ve only found hog feed! Anyway, once they’ve soaked about 3-4 weeks I simmer them, let them sit over night in the water and strain. I’ve put the acorn remains in a pot and let it sit for over a year and still am able to pull a color. I’ve also done DNA with the acorns, that seems to throw it to a beige instead of a yellow tannin. Either way the 1st color pull makes a strong neutral yellow/brown. Subsequent exhausts give you a lighter beige and take overdyeing well.


  2. mazzaus December 12, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    This is really interesting! Thanks for the detail you provide about your dyeing processes.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: