Anchusa Tinctoria - in raw state as Alkanet Plant Roots Alkanet root yields shades of grey, lavender, burgundies and purples in an alkaline dye bath.
Use 75 - 100% WOF. By extracting the dye first with alcohol and then adding it to pre-mordanted wool or silk in a dye bath it enhances the color. Use 15% WOF Alum for protien fibres and 8% Tannin and 15% Alum WOF for cellulose. Soak the Alkanet in Meths for several days then when it has developed a good strong colour, strain off the liquid and top it up with enough water to cover your fibre. Alkanet can be dyed without using any mordants but gives patchy fastness. Also known as Dyers Bugloss.
Before 1856, Natural dyes were used in time honoured techniques (as far back as 1500BC) but once synthetic dyes were invented in 1856, textile dyers and artisans moved from traditional natural dyes to synthetic dyes to colour their cloth and fibre.
They will dye any natural fibre using a handful of non-toxic mordants and additives to help fix the dye and also give you more colour variations. Natural dyeing is very much about reconnecting with the past - apart from using the plant materials you have at hand in your own garden, there are a number of traditional Natural Dyes and extracts including Indigo, Madder, Cochineal and Fustic.
By combining different dyes, mordants and depths of shade, you will produce an amazing palette of deep to subtle pastel colours. We hope you enjoy your Natural Dyeing adventure!