St. Johns Wort Plant Collecting and Dye Bath

Amelia Hoskins / Dye Bath Processes, Plant Dye / / 0 Comments
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St. Johns Wort yellow flowers in bank side.
St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) yellow star shaped flowers, are found along grass verges. These photos are from the Tarka Cycle Trail old rail track - Barnstaple to Bideford; my 10 mile route for foraging, using Jenny Dean's plant spotter book. 
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St. Johns Wort yellow star flowers collected
Click on photos to see enlarged views as Gallery
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Dye Bath  - 1st Soak Soak flower tops overnight in rain water. I use pond water. Boil up and simmer for an hour Cool liquid until hand hot, not to roughen silk, soak silk, stirring occasionally. Leave overnight to absorb dye colour
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Gold result from St. Johns Wort dye. 1st soaked silk contrasted with pale woad dyed silk and darker
Dye Bath  - 2nd Soak Second silk piece added on top through the night. 2nd day: Remove first stronger dyed silk piece and rinse out, not squeezed too much and leave to dry. Drain seeds and flowers and heat remaining paler dye bath. Add second piece again for half a day. Rinse out when water completely clear. Colour was blotchy, so I cut it in half.
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  Three varieties with St. John's Wort dye bath. L-R (a) first strongly dyed silk (b) Second paler dyed silk (c) Third dyed silk with iron modifier
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Dye Bath  - Session Two - Iron Iron Modifer: Olive Green-Khaki Results I heated dye bath again, allowed to cool, before adding tablespoon of ferrous sulphate for third final piece of silk. (for khaki colour) Silk must not be exposed too long to iron mix as can weaken it. Colour change is immediate so 5 mins sufficient; less to just dull colour.  Rinse out with a little soap.
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Silk dyed with no mordant = GOLD. Silk modified after dyeing with iron = KHAKI All cream and gold dyed silks with any plant dyes will turn  duller, khaki, or grey after a dip in iron. Notebook:  I bought the iron (ferrous sulphate) specially, but you can make your own. I generally experiment with adding water from a jar of rusty nails and screws; about half a tea cup to turn grey or khaki. Top up jar as rusty liquid is used. Even a spoonful dulls a colour adequately.
[Note: Site under restructuring: additional dye images to add] See more and others' dye procedures on my Natural Plant Dye Pinterest Board.
Images copyright Amelia Jane Hoskins Please email for use permission.