Because I can…I have local oak galls, acorns and walnuts (imported from the wilds of West Chester, PA) to choose from to use for tannins for cotton dye prep. Here they are in their form of waiting in the wings till needed.
Oak Galls collected here in Blanco county
Walnuts in their slimy & stinky form after a year soaking with the newer walnuts carried here by Marge from West Chester, Pa.
And the ancient acorns from about two years ago…..whose mold I will not inflict upon anyone but myself!
Testing between the walnut and the oak galls I get a dark tone & a yellow tone.
The walnut pushes brown…duh
And the oak galls push yellow red.
Oak galls are the recommendation by several authors. I will use them in conjuction with alum acetate and a chalk dunging. I believe with dilution the cotton will shift to a beige color.
Since different skeins will be overdyed with madder, persimmon and indigo I am not concerned about the mordant undertone. The tannin’s impact will be minimal on the final colors. The goal is to get the tannin in play on the fibers so they play nice with the alum acetate, the dunging and the final dye baths.
In Texas we have finally gotten back to sane fall temps of 80 degrees. The garden is settling down and going to seed. We have some heavy rains forecasted so I harvested some indigo seed, gathered oak galls & acorns and took advantage of delayed rains to scour some wool for a November natural dye class.
The Japanese Indigo yielded its small flea like seeds. When the winter winds blow in I’ll winnow the chaff out. The Indigo Suffruticosa is still teaching me how to harvest it. The bean like seeds ripen to brown black and split open. When you pull a seed bunch a branchlet usually comes with it. Determined not to waste an opportunity I’ve put these branchlets plus some wind trimming into a white bucket and put it aside to see if my indigo makes a natural appearance. Look at this after just one day!So I plan to use the yeast recipe for woad in Jenny Dean’s newest book, A Heritage of Colour. Stay tuned for those results.
And the acorns and oak galls are making an appearance so I gathered some up to put aside to pull for tannin. “Some” is the key word as the squirrels and deer have been very busy dining on fallen acorns. And finally I am prepping some beautiful wool, silk and cotton for a November workshop I am giving. Scouring the Australian wool was today and winds permitting I will mordant tomorrow. Here’s my source link.
Test drive today for my shoulder with my husband’s help! I got on his calendar!
Acorn and oak gall to be over-dyed with my Parmotrema Austrosinense lichen. Purple over yellow tones, I’m thinking a brown. Hopefully a nice neutral brown to brighten other colors. We’ll see. There is always the iron afterbath to take it darker.
In the meantime as my hero is learning how to turn wool skeins in the dye pot I am harvesting 2nd year woad to over-dye some last year woad blue that I want a shade darker.
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.