The wool or fabric that you are going to be using herbs to dye the material, if the item has been chemically treated or bleached on the material, the dyeing process will not work.
Suggestions for wool preparation – wash in hot water with soap, rinse out the soap and lay to cool. You must use the “mordant”, this helps set the dye into the wool.
The next step to do is to use the mordant, this product will help the wool take to the dye plus increases the enhancement of the color. It takes time to simmer the wool, approxiamately about 2 hours and this should allow enough time to set the dye.
Adding the herbs, chop up then place into a muslin pouch and place into 4 US gallons of water for 10 hours.
Bring the water, herbs to a boil and distinctively choosing the shade of color but keeping in mind that once the wool dries it will be much lighter than it is showing immersed in the boiling water.
When the water is boiling, add the wool, apply heat, then turn the burner down low until you have reached your color choice. Then, you must once again wash the wool to remove any of the extra dye and lay out the wool to dry. Keep in mind that you do not want to create anymore heat to the wool once it is drying, so no heat or sun. Keep away from the bright window’s.
Note: **It is advised not to use your cooking utensils while dyeing with the herbs, many of the herbs residues can be quite poisonous. Cross contamination into your regular cooking would not be advisable.
Noting: Use rubber gloves
HERBS AND COLOR TRANSFORMATIONS
Tansy (Tanacetum Vulgare)– colors – yellow/orange
Madder (Rubia tinctorum)– color – Crimson, can also be used to create orange, purple and yellow.
Marigold (Calendula Officinalis) — color – Yellow
Woad (Isatis Tinctoria) — color – Blue
Dandelion (Tarraxacum officinale) — color – magenta
Resource: “Traditional Home Book of Herbs” by Michael Janulewicz