Galium results

Well, there *is* colour, but it’s weak, probably because of the amount of root i had, maybe 40 scant grams, dirt included. I used Jenny Dean’s method of soaking the roots overnight, pouring off the first water, then slow simmering with a Tums tablet (calcium carbonate) for two subsequent baths that were saved and combined. (A third simmer had no colour at all, and was discarded with the roots, in the garden as no adjunct chemicals were added.) Both fibre types were properly scoured and pre-mordanted also, according to their requirements.

Wet, silk top, cotton bottom, after 24 hour soak in dyepot:

Technically, i should have decanted into two pots, and dyed separately, as cotton (cellulose) and silk (protein) have different uptakes.


Soft, but not terribly exciting, again most likely due to the amount of root gathered.

Some modifying/post mordanting on small strips:

Pretty much insignificant changes with (L to R) above, vinegar no change/possible “bleaching effect”, soda ash marginal pink activation

and above (L to R) copper minimal change and possible miniscule yellowing, ferrous sulphate the most dramatic change (might just do this to the remaining pieces and use that way!). (This could also be due to any residual tannins. I used an incredibly SMALL amount of ferrous sulphate, as the stuff is quite strong, maybe a few grains.)

I’m also thinking that because there is so little colour on these, that they are NOT going to be terribly light OR wash fast……BIG sigh of “WhatEVER” 🙂 Still goes in the dye annals though 🙂 I’m sticking to actual madder from now on.


So, was it worth the effort? Yes, in a way, because i learned it is possible to grow, harvest and use a plant material that can and does grow here. And no, because i learned the amount of time to grow (3 years to wait to harvest), time to harvest (ridiculously small amount for the work it took) and use (weak, because time and harvest took too much and amount gathered was too small) was not worth the experiment. Then again, maybe ***this variety of Galium has very little dye material in it. BUT, obviously someone with patience, a larger pot/plot might want to try this so they could say they use “local”, if that’s their Thing.

I’m rather sure too, that if i had just ecoprinted with these, instead of using as a dye material, the results would have been negligible, as there’s little alizarin/purpurin in these roots, probably due more to their size, than the quantity gathered. (Again, or the variety is pathetic in the dye substance department.) I highly doubt that the roots get very big at all, even after years, as that’s not their nature. It would also take masses and masses of them to get a decent quantity, a problematic exercise, also due to the way they grow.

So, have on, some brave soul: i’ve lived and learned, and the lesson is filed! (If you are interested in how i got to this point, this will take you to all of the Galium posts previous.) (And yes, i misspelled it in the archives–gallium with 2 l’s is actually a chemical element.)

Erratum: The Galium species most prevalent here is Galium boreale, which is what i used, not Galium verum as previously stated. There are ***6oo species of Galium, and some have no alizarin at all, but do have pur purin and pseudopurpurin. I’m also certain that some have little to no use whatsoever as a dye plant. I found this article, and they do mention that some of these plants have little to no madder-like characteristics.

One response to “Galium results

Your thoughts? (Spammers, good luck on that.)

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.