Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dyeing in Haslemere - some handmade recipes

Amongst Haslemere Educational Museum's collection of the Haslemere Peasant Arts' dye recipes are some handwritten recipes.  I am not sure whether these recipes were recorded by the Peasant Arts group or perhaps later by the weavers who continued to work in the Weaving House at 113 Kings Road after the closure of the Peasant Arts Society in 1933 or the later Inval Weavers.  Presumably these recipes are ones either devised by the Haslemere weaving movement themselves or passed on from someone else.

section of Godfrey Blount's 1896 hanging held by the V&A museum
showing possible golden and lemon yellow dye colours
section of Set of Valance, (possibly) Haslemere Peasant Industries
held by the V&A museum
showing possible golden yellow and lemon yellow

Golden Yellow
For 1lb of Wool
Mordant, 1ozs bichromate of Potash
Dye 2ozs fustic

Put in the dye bath enough soft water to cover the mordant.  Heat until the mordant is dissolved and then add the wool and bring slowly to the boil and boil for one hour.  The wool is then ready for the dyeHave read 2ozs of Fustic, loosely tied in a thin cotton bag, and soaked over night or previously brought to the boil in a separate saucepan.  Add the bag with the dye in, to the pot of water, and  then add the wool and boil for third minutes.  To get a lemon yellow use alum as for like mordant 4 ozs of alum to 1lb of wool, and only 1ozs of fustic continue the same as for Golden Yellow.

Golden yellow dye recipe
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Education Museum
Detail of napkin by Haslemere Peasant Arts
Reproduced courtesy of The Dartford Warbler
Is this colour a logwood blue?
Logwood Blue
Mordant - To 1lb wool - 1/4 oz bicromate potash, 1/4 oz cream of Tartar

Put into boiling water and when dissolved, enter wool and boil for 3/4 hour.

Wet wool before mordanting and rinse after and cover up (the light has an effect on colour).

Dye - To 1 lb wool, - 2 ozs logwood.  Boil dye for 1/2 hour, remove from pot and put in wool and boil for 1 hour, well rinse and hang out to dry.

section of The Spies by Godfrey Blount c.1900 held by V&A museum
does this show the green and purple dye from the recipes?

Mordant - same as for Logwood blue
Dye - To 1 lb wool - 3oz fustic, 1 oz logwood
For lighter shade add another 1/2 oz rustic to each lb.

Morant - 3 oz alum, 1 oz cream of tartar to every 1 lb wool.
Boil as recipe for blue.
Dye - to 1 lb wool, 3 oz logwood.

Dye recipe
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum


  1. What brilliant timing - I was about to do some research into the natural dyes used in an old narrow-loom Welsh blanket I bought this week. It seems the Logwood (with differing mordants) may have provided the blue strip and the deep lavender purple one in this blanket, and exhausted madder could give the orange and peach in it! Brilliant and many thanks.

  2. Glad to have been of some help.


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