Natural dyeing – Iron dye modifier

Wool, silk, and linen pre-mordanted with oak galls, and then modified with iron

Wool, silk, and linen pre-mordanted with oak galls, and then modified with iron

Iron as a pre-mordant

In all of the natural dyeing I’ve been doing (or hoping to do!) in the last little while, I read a little about using iron as a pre-mordant instead of alum. In Rebecca Burgess’ Harvesting Colour: How to find plants and make natural dyes, she notes that while alum is used for most of recipes in her book, iron is useful in several.

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Natural dyeing – Oak Galls

Green oak galls

Green oak galls

I’ve read about oak galls and their place in dyeing and ink-making a little, and didn’t think too much of them – I don’t really think of oak trees in Calgary (compared to trips to Louisiana!) but while out for a walk (playing PokemonGo!) I noticed that one of the parks near me had cute little (young) oak trees. A closer look… and there were the weird clustered balls.

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A few recent SCA workshops

Leather ornament made at Borealis Yule 2018

Leather ornament made at Borealis Yule 2018

If you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you’ve already seen some of the results of some of the recent workshops I took through the SCA group I’m a part of.

For one of the November Fight Practices, the current Queen, Kora Kendal came down and taught a preview of her workshop on how to make a 14th century sleeveless chemise. This was based on her research for a project she did to compete in Kingdom A&S a few years ago.

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Small Jörmungandr pyrography box

Small Jörmungandr wooden pyrography box displayed with some of my Viking costume kit, coins, and drinking glass

Small Jörmungandr wooden pyrography box displayed with some of my Viking costume kit, coins, and drinking glass

Although most of the small wooden boxes I picked up for Viking-inspired bling boxes were reasonably sized, I also picked up two very small boxes from the dollar store. Each are only about 14cm x 8cm x 8cm approximately. They won’t hold very much; a beaded necklace, a small brooch, and a pendant perhaps… or my nålbinding needles and lucet fork perhaps. I may also use it for beads that I haven’t strung up yet – though since I have new glass beads to identify, this box may now be too small!

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