Dyeing Wool

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Southwest Virginia Project
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Another homely saying, " dyed in the wool," showed a process of much skill....Often the woven cloth was dyed, not the wool. From:Source:Earle, 1898.

ColorSource and comment
Blue, in all shades, was the favorite color, and was dyed with indigo. So great was the demand for this dye-stuff that indigo-pedlers travelled over the country selling it.
RedsMadder, cochineal, and logwood dyed beautiful


Browns and YellowThe bark of Red Oak or Hickory made very pretty shades of brown and yellow.
GreenVarious flowers growing on the farm could be used for dyes. The flower of the goldenrod, when pressed of its juice, mixed with indigo, and added to alum, made a beautiful green.
CrimsonThe juice of the pokeberry boiled with Alum made crimson dye, and a violet juice from the petals of the iris, or " flower-de-luce," that blossomed in June meadows, gave a delicate light purple tinge to white wool.
Yellow and OrangeThe bark of the Sassafras was used for dyeing yellow or orange color, and the flowers and leaves of the Balsam also.
YellowFustic and copperas gave yellow dyes.
BlackA good black was obtained by boiling woollen cloth with a quantity of the leaves of the common Field-Sorrel, then boiling again with logwood and copperas.
YellowIn the South there were scores of flowers and

leaves that could be used for dyes. During the Revolutionary War one enterprising South Carolinian got a guinea a pound for a yellow dye he made from the Sweet-leaf or Horse-laurel.

BlackThe leaves and berries of Gall-berry bush made a good black much used by hatters and Weavers.
YellowThe root of the Barberry gave wool a beautiful yellow, as did the leaves of the Devil's-bit.
YellowThe petals of Jerusalem artichoke and St.-John's-wort dyed yellow. Yellow root is a significant name and reveals its use.
BrownOak, walnut, or Maple bark dyed brown. </table