In 2000 I received my first major commission – from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. As part of their new British Galleries they were dressing the Great Bed of Ware with everything required to give you a comfortable night – mattress, sheets, hangings, pillows, coverlet …
I was asked to dye all the blackwork silks and make the tassels for the corners of the pillowcases. I was over the moon!
The bed hangings were stunning – really vivid red and yellow all the red yarns being dyed by Eva Lambert in Scotland and the yellows dyed by the then dyer at Styal Mill in Cheshire.
In 2010 Eva Lambert published her book The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing with Tracy Kendall, so Recipe #2 will be taken from this book – it seems appropriate!
For this recipe again the madder is soaked in cold water the night before – but this time without the fibres. These are added the next day when you are ready to dye. Again heat up but don’t take higher than 60 degrees C. Maintain the temperature for 1 hour then allow to cool, rinse, wash and dry. I used the same mix of fibres as for Recipe #1 premordanted in the same way.
Results are again at the top. Can’t say they look much different – maybe a little paler? Has the overnight soak with the fibres in recipe #1 given it an edge??