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SALE NOW ON – FULL COLOUR FRIDAY – 30% Off Natural Dye this weekend!

We don’t don’t do black. We do do very dark blue, do you do blue?

Take 30% Off Natural Dye in our Colourful Friday sale!

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Mimosa Hostilis: Our Best Selling Product

Mimosa Hostilis inner root bark was our best selling product of 2018, and for good reason. It holds the purple crown in our natural dye collection, and customers return again and again for two main reasons:

I LOVE how fine the powder is, I actually broke a kitchen blender on some mimosa root bark from another supplier!

RJ, Port Talbot

It’s really important that the dye comes from the right part of the plant, inner root bark makes best colours 🙂

Sara, Kildare
Fine powdered Mimosa Hostilis inner root bark
Fine powder gives better colour extraction and is easier to work with

Mimosa hostilis inner root bark can be used to recreate authentic 17th and 18th century costume dresses. Customers also use mimosa on certain military uniforms and royal court costume recreations. We also supply folks who work our powdered inner root bark into leather to tan it.

Our Mimosa Hostilis is harvested from the right part of the plant (inner root bark). We grind this tough woody material for days at a time until the colour is bursting to get out. Not only this, but we only ever deal with the same highly skilled people who are dedicated to working in a sustainable manner. Order Mimosa Hostilis from Dartmoor Sheepskins today.

It’s been a wonderfully varied year at Dartmoor Sheepskins, we’ve developed new dyes and have been working with artisan makers creating natural wool and felt products, handmade soaps, leather shoes and boots, the list goes on. But most surprisingly, we also sent Madder and Turmeric dye to Farne Island to help the rangers tag baby seals to help with conserving the colony. More here…

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Adventures With Logwood Soap.

Some time ago we were contacted by the fantastic soap maker Nicole from Les savons de Nicole she wanted to try Woad to make a blue soap. We have been looking into new and more affordable natural blue dyes and were really exited to try out Logwood and pass some onto Nicole to try Logwood soap making. However, when it arrived we were disappointed to discover that the logwood powder was a deep and rich brown.

Logwood Dye, powder.
Logwwod Powdered Dye

We offered Nicole some of our Madder to have a play with instead and you can read about the results here.  We are often surprised at the beautiful and unusual results we get when playing around with natural colours but Logwood was one of the most surprising I have come across yet. When testing out the colour on a piece of fleece I discovered, on rinsing, that the water ran out a deep red and left us with a beautiful, solid dark blue!

Sheep's fleece dyed blue with Logwood.

The process

I was very exited offer Nicole a sample of Logwood to have a play with. What happened with the soap was even more interesting, she sent us photographs of the process showing us the soap making process showing us the dye in the oils, the water and the water and lye.

The results looked very promising and the soap batter had a lovely deep blue colour.

Blue Logwood soap batter.
Blue Soap Batter

Finished Product – Logwood Soap

Anyone who has worked with natural dyes will know that there is always that exiting moment when you get to see how your project has turned out, you never quite know what you are going to get and in the case of logwood soap the result looks…well, kind of like chocolate. Although not the blue we were hoping for we still love these beautiful soaps Nicole sent us, they smell amazing and they look almost good enough to eat!

Hand made Logwood soap
Finished Logwood Soap

Special Thanks to Nicole from Les savons de Nicole for the wonderful soap, we look forward to more exiting experiments in the future. If you would like to try out our range of natural dyes you can find them here.

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Dyeing With Lac

lac dye with barney removing water from cloth

lac dye used for tie dye

Lac Dye is a fascinating product, made from insect secretion and harvested by inoculating trees with Kerria Lacca insects.

Cultivation begins when a farmer gets a stick that contains eggs ready to hatch and ties it to the tree to be infested. Thousands of lac insects colonise the branches of the host trees and secrete the resinous pigment. The coated branches of the host trees are cut and harvested to create the lac dye – Wikipedia

The results were way more purple than we were expecting, having originally been expecting a deep red result. This is a sign of an alkaline solution (acidic dye solution gives more orangey colours) – so much depends on the additional treatments used that each dye can produce a range of colours, sometimes dramatically different from each other. Indeed we expected this colour from mimosa dye, which in the event turned out brown!

Basic process:

  1. Wash fabric in alum and cream of tartar solution in warm water
  2. Squeeze out liquid, add fabric to Lac dye bath (1 litre warm water, 20 g Lac powder)
  3. Give fabric a soak in copper sulphate solution

Tie Dye:

  1. After the initial soaking, squeeze out the excess liquid
  2. Lay the fabric out on a table and twist from the centre
  3. Secure at intervals with string or elastic bands (the tighter you tie the less dye will get through and the more distinctive the final pattern will be
  4. Proceed to the dye bath stage

 

All our dyes come from ecologically aware producers, working to strict employment ethics and environmental responsibility standards. Our Lac comes from a producer certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards).

Rinse fabric treatments thoroughly

OK, it’s first efforts like this where you iron out the kinks, but not a bad tie dyed pillow case – deep rich purple colour (like what we were expecting from the mimosa)