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Sumac


    Before you dye your 100 % cotton or wool garment, (on blends, the dye might not take so well- I advise that you test a scrap piece before you dye the whole garment) you should mordant it so that it will accept the dye better. I also suggest that you wait until the garment is finished to dye it, rather than dying the fabric. This way, if you use cotton thread, the thread dyes to match the fabric exactly. Also, it means less fabric to have to stuff in the pot.



    Sumac dye results in a wonderful burgandy color on unmordanted cotton, but with the use of mordants, other colors may be obtained. Click here for a picture of sumac if you're not sure what to look for. It should be noted that it's quite hard to mistake this variety (with bright red berries) with it's poisonoius counterpart becuase the poison sumac has white berries.



Dark yellow-tan wool

    Cover the berries with water and soak for an hour. Boil 30 minutes, then strain out berries and add enough water to make a 4 to 4 1/2 gallon dyebath. Immerse wool and heat to boiling, boil 30 minutes, rinse and dry.



Gray wool

    Follow above directions, ommitting mordant. Without rinsing, transfer material to a boiling bath of ferrous sulfate and 4 gallons of water. Stir and boil 10 min, rinse, and dry.



Dark grey cotton

    Cover the berries with water and soak for an hour. Boil 30 minutes, then strain out berries and add enough water to make a 4 to 4 1/2 gallon dyebath. Immerse cotton and heat to boiling, boil 30 minutes, transfer to boiling bath of ferrous sulfate and 4 gallons water. Rinse, and dry.



Light tan cotton

    Cover the berries with water and soak for an hour. Boil 30 minutes, then strain out berries and add enough water to make a 4 to 4 1/2 gallon dyebath. Immerse cotton and heat to boiling, boil 30 minutes, rinse and dry.



Burgandy cotton

    Cover the berries with 1 gallon of water and boil for an hour. When dye is desired strength (test with strips of unmordanted cotton), strain dye thoroughly (any berries floating in dyebath will result in a darker splotch on fabric), add more water if neccessary, and immerse cotton. Boil until fabric is desired shade (at least a half an hour), rinse in cold water, and dry. This method produces a gorgeous color, but it's not as color fast as the other methods. Also, an ingredient in most detergents causes the fabric to change color (to a green-grey), so if you want it to stay burgendy, water wash it only!