Last dye batch for now

I think there is a dual meaning to the phrase “exhaust bath” when veg dyeing

– I can get a tiny bit more colour from this before it’s really exhausted, or

– I have exhausted all the possibilities of stuff I can dye in my house unless I start on the tea towels

I just dyed about four kilos of yarn, plus this bit of cloth…


There’s four metres, enough for some sort of frock. Dad got me a stainless steel beer barrel and lopped the top off it for me. It has a huge capacity, and was too big for the kitchen hob, so it went outside on a camping stove, propped up with a couple of bricks.

I honestly can say the cloth( a lightweight tabby wool I use mainly for embroidery) was an exhaust bath. As I dyed all the threads I used every bath between two and four times, then lobbed the leftovers in the beer barrel.

There’s cochineal, lac, two sorts of madder, cutch, weld, Persian berries, walnut and logwood in there. I did the same thing with a load of exhaust baths and some cloth before and got a very similar colour.

I’m not sure what to do with my dirty purple, it looks like a very Tudor colour somehow, but I don’t really need another Tudor kirtle. And now I’m torn whether to use it with the collar instead of the camel…?


And then we have the last of the skeins and embroidery cloths,


From top

– logwood and exhaust bath
-exhaust bath( much paler on threads and more pink)
– first Iranian madder
– first English madder
– second logwood
– first logwood
– compound brown of many baths. I’m very pleased with my brown, as it’s almost identical to the one I’m running out of.

In other news I’m drinking a rather splendid thing called rhubarb nectar…yum

~ by opusanglicanum on April 14, 2015.

13 Responses to “Last dye batch for now”

  1. That’s stunning with the collar! Almost like it was made for it.

  2. Also, I think that there might be a third meaning for ‘exhaust’ in this arena: the dyer herself is exhausted from all that!

    • I kind of get sick of the mess ( tub grubs full of liquid lying round the kitchen) and the dietary limitations( not being able to use the hob to cook) but I don’t find the dyeing all that demanding, you stick a pot on and leave it

  3. Yes, it looks splendid with the collar!

  4. It does look very well matched with the collar fabric…

  5. I agree, a lovely pairing with the collar.

  6. I agree, it goes well with the collar. I had a little shopping ‘accident’ in Shrewsbury market, yesterday, where there was a lady selling skeins of veg-dyed silk. Several of those I have bought involve rhubarb leaves – so if you get tired of drinking the stuff, you can probably dye things with it.

    • I haven’t checked, but I’ve a feeling that rhubarb might be one of those dyes that isn’t very light/colour fast. There’s often a reason some things aren’t widely known as dyes

  7. […] next weekend, and thought it would be nice to make a new dress using The ADel church collar, and The cloth I dyed to go with it. I have several Norman outfits, but they’re either a bit impractical for storytelling, or not […]

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