Books: Country Colours by Carolyn Lock

I’m starting a series of posts about useful books with this beautifully done guide to dyeing wool using common plants that grow in Nova Scotia, published by Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, N.S. 1981. You probably wouldn’t buy it, unless you are really interested (amazon sells used copies for $10-15), so I will copy here the things I found useful or interesting. I found this book in my university library, so you might find it in some libraries as well.

The book has a nice intro and a chapter on history, then directions on natural dyeing of wool. This contains a chart some of you might find useful on different mordants, with proper and common names, see below.

Then some information on collecting the plants, which I will omit here, and then a set of charts with records of plants collected and what color they gave with which mordant. Something I found extremely interesting in this chart was that sometimes the same plant with same mordant gave a different color if collected a month later, so this is something to be aware of. Here are all of these charts.

Now, a good tip I was not aware of before about madder not liking chorine in the water (see the last sentence in the photo below), and here I wondered why I had such hard time getting the bright red out of madder. Note to self: in the future, do not use tap water for madder.

A good section on lichen for those who are not going to invest into a book on lichen and mushroom dyeing. I copied that whole section on lichen. Page 40 had a full-page illustration, so no text is missing.

And now a special treasure, an annotated bibliography, from which I’m posting useful excerpts. The book was published in 1981, so the bibliography only contains the classics sources up to 1978.

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