Hedge Witch: Into the Wilds…

Let me take you on a journey through the wilds of nature and back to the roots and bones of witchcraft, a natural witchcraft that works with the seasons and all the natural items that Mother Nature provides drawing on magical folk lore with a dash of hedge witch and gypsy magic too.

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Natural Plant Dyes

Plant dyes

Roots, nuts and flowers can provide you with natural dyes.  Collect flowers in full bloom and make sure any nuts or berries you use are ripe.  Experiment with different plant materials to create a variety of colours.

As a general guide:

Chop the plant material and add to a pan.

Cover with double the quantity of water and bring to the boil, simmer for one hour.

Strain out the plant material – now you have your plant dye liquid.

To set the colour on the fabric you may have to soak the fabric in a colour fixative, called a mordant, before dying.

Mordant:

Berry dyes: ½ cup salt to eight cups cold water.

Plant dyes: One-part vinegar to four parts cold water.

Put the fabric in the fixative and simmer in a pan for an hour.  Rinse until clear then squeeze out the excess water. 

Place the wet fabric in a pan containing the plant dye liquid.  Simmer until you get the desired colour.

Alternatively place the wet fabric in a bowl with the plant dye liquid and leave to soak overnight.

When washing home dyed fabric after colouring, wash separately as the dye may leech out.

Here are some suggested plants and a rough guide on their colour:

Orange: Alder bark, bloodroot roots, carrots, eucalyptus leaves and bark, giant coreopsis, onion skin, pomegranate skin, St John’s wort flowers, turmeric.

Pink: Bloodroot roots, avocado skin and seed, cherries.

Yellow: Eucalyptus leaves and bark, broom bark, ivy twigs, crab apple bark, agrimony, yarrow, bay, broom flowers, chamomile flowers, fenugreek, goldenrod leaves, plantain.

Green: Eucalyptus leaves and bark, pomegranate skin, dock leaves, agrimony, angelica, artichoke, broom stem, chamomile leaves, grass, marjoram, nettles, mint, sage, sorrel roots, yarrow.

Brown: Eucalyptus leaves and bark, onion skin, boiled acorns, beetroot, birch bark, broom bark, burdock, coffee grounds, dandelion roots, fennel flowers and leaves, hops, ivy twigs, juniper berries, oak bark, dried oregano stems, pine bark.

Red: St John’s wort flowers, burdock, comfrey, crab apple bark, dandelion root, dock leaves, dried hibiscus flowers, sycamore bark, dark hollyhock petals.

Burgundy/purple: Beetroot, blackberries, blueberries, red cabbage, basil, dark hollyhock petals.

Blue: Cornflower petals, dogwood bark, elderberry, red cabbage, purple iris, fresh woad leaves.

Grey/black: Alder, iris roots, meadowsweet, oak galls, basil.

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Rachel is a witch...has been for a very long time, not the green skinned warty kind obviously...the real sort - but she is also a working wife and mother living in Hampshire, England who has also been lucky enough to write and have published a growing stack of books on the Craft. She loves to learn she loves to study and continues to do so each and every day but has learned the most from actually getting outside and doing it. She regularly gives talks and workshops at pagan events. Rachel is also founder and an Elder at the Kitchen Witch online school of witchcraft. She likes to laugh...and eat cake...
 
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