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 Dyeing Discussion
 Natural Dyes
 Black walnut shells or hulls???
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Jami
New Pal

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  12:20:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jami's Homepage Send Jami a Private Message
I have heard that black walnut hulls make a nice dark brown. Are hulls what break open to reveal the nut? Or is a hull another word for shell?? I have a friend with a few walnut trees and was going to ask for some to try out but want to make sure I get the right thing.
Thanks!

Jami B.
Ellensburg, WA

MMario
Permanent Resident

2210 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  12:25:52 PM  Show Profile Send MMario a Private Message
the hulls you want are the thick skin that surrounds the actual walnut; the hull surrounds the nutshell which surrounds the nutmeat.

they are greenish-brown and rapidly turn black/brown when broken. the juice stains your fingers.

MMario - I don't live in the 21st century - but I play a character who does.
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Jami
New Pal

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  1:14:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jami's Homepage Send Jami a Private Message
Thanks! Any advice on preparing them? Boil for a while in water and then leave it sit or strain and use right away? Also, which mordant might be best? I'm real new to natural dying...planted a dye garden this year and I'm itching to try it!

Jami B.
Ellensburg, WA
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MMario
Permanent Resident

2210 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  1:30:07 PM  Show Profile Send MMario a Private Message
Walnut hulls act as their own mordant; for a darker shade you might want to try an iron mordant, or a copper mordant. I don't think Alum would effect them one way or the other.

you can soak them in water for a couple days; or boil them for a while; strain before using, yes.

MMario - I don't live in the 21st century - but I play a character who does.
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hug_queen88@yahoo.com
Chatty Knitter

USA
156 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  1:30:42 PM  Show Profile Send hug_queen88@yahoo.com a Private Message
Using black walnut hulls as a fabric dye interseeted me, too. They were used for the purpose historically, and I knew decayinhg hulls stained my hands and clothes when I was gathering the nuts in my yard. I found the book "Dyes from American native plants : a practical guide," by Lynne Richards very interesting, etc. My library even had a copy! Haven't tried the process yet, but may when the next crop of nuts matures this fall.

Sally
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Jami
New Pal

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  1:36:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jami's Homepage Send Jami a Private Message
Thanks for the replies. I need to get some more mordants I see. I have alum and want to try others just to see how they affect the colors. I will see about looking at the book, Sally.


Jami B.
Ellensburg, WA
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of troy
Permanent Resident

USA
2474 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  4:37:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit of troy's Homepage Send of troy a Private Message
they (the hulls) will stain your skin and nails brown too!

(just like in snow white, when the wicked step mother tries to make snow white unattractive by adding walnuts to her bathwater!)

the hulls come off reasonalbe easy, the shells are like iron
(to hull the nuts, put them in a gunny sack, lay sack in drive way. run your truck over the sack a few times until hulls are cracked.)

(i know the location of a half dozen black walnut trees in NYC!)

See my photo albums of knitting. http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/v299/oftroy/
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MMario
Permanent Resident

2210 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2006 :  06:20:27 AM  Show Profile Send MMario a Private Message
the recipes I have found on the web seem to boil down (pun intended) to this:

1) about 2 parts hulls to 5 parts water

2) deeper colour reported if soak overnight prior to boiling

3) boil * approx 1 hour; cool and strain**

4) after that things vary much more - some use the dyebath at room temp; some heated; some mordant, some don't. all do say deeper colours with longer dyebath (which makes sense)


* some recipes say there is a difference in colour if boiled versus simmered

** some just say cool and strain; some suggest leaving overnight before strain; one suggests bottling the hulls in the dyebath and letting sit a year or more.

most sources agree iron mordant makes a deeper almost black colour; other mordants may change the shade, especially if aiming for a lighter colour

MMario - I don't live in the 21st century - but I play a character who does.
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Pat in east Texas
Chatty Knitter

314 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2006 :  1:52:51 PM  Show Profile Send Pat in east Texas a Private Message
There's a lazy way to do this, too. I get black walnut hull POWDER at Whole Foods - it's in the bulk herbs section. Then just boil it in water, strain it, and dye. I've even dyed basket reed with it without straining it.
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verlit
Chatty Knitter

Czech Republic
116 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  01:19:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit verlit's Homepage Send verlit a Private Message
I have used the hulls recently - just boiled them for about 30 minutes, let it cool down to body temperature and let the wool soak for about 2 hours. I didnīt use any mordant and the result is quite lovely, relatively light golden-brown:

http://www.chytrepleteni.cz/socks_new.jpg
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blr2449
Permanent Resident

USA
1378 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  05:52:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit blr2449's Homepage  Send blr2449 a Yahoo! Message Send blr2449 a Private Message
I just might have to try this. I got all my spun yarn back yesterday from Wooly Knob and much of it is plain 'vanilla'. I may have to try dying a small batch of it. Plus we have 2 humungous walnut trees outside the house.

Thank you for all the information

Barbara
http://graniterose.livejournal.com/
If YOU don't talk to your CAT about catnip, who will?
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