Rhubarb leaves and tamarind

I haven’t found a lot of joy with rhubarb leaf mordant so far… but I do grow rhubarb and often wish I could use the leaves somehow before they reach the compost heap. One chilly day I wondered whether they might just be good in the dyepot–if I heated them surely they would release oxalic acid into the dyebath and even if that is all that happened, raising the acidity level of the bath can be a good thing.  Why not?

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Then, in with E Scoparia bark.  And eventually, two mesh bags full of polwarth fleece.  In fact, the last two!  I seem to have reached the end of the polwarth fleeces, which seems well nigh miraculous–though they have been just lovely to work with, these are BIG sheep.

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The rhubarb leaves did produce a deeper, burgundy shade–than the citrus acidifier in the other pot.  Is this a quantity effect, sheer luck…?  I am not honestly sure, but I will certainly try it again.  The water has to be heated for the dyebath anyway and letting it steep a little before removing rhubarb and adding eucalypt is not too difficult.

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In another acid experiment, I have been cleaning out the kitchen cupboards (well, some things over a decade old are leaving the cupboards)–and found this:

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Wasn’t I in Brisbane at least 12 years ago the last time I cooked with tamarind??  I put it into a big jar and topped up with water.

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Then, into a dyebath with E Nicholii and some of ‘Viola’s’ fleece–she’s a local pet sheep who seems to have some English Leicester parentage.  Another gift fleece.

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Tamarind on the left, citrus acidifier on the right.  Curious!  I have another bath with the exhaust dye baths and a second round of leaves steeping (also known as waiting until I have time and inclination…) now.

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5 Comments

Filed under Natural dyeing

5 responses to “Rhubarb leaves and tamarind

  1. I think I should try rhubarb leaves and E. cinerea – could be interesting. What amount of leaves did you use (I’m not massive on precise measuring). Ta.

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  2. Susan

    Whoo Hoo, do I have rhubarb leaves or what! And I think I have some Osage orange somewhere………..

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  3. Rhubarb leaves placed IN Adelaide water BEFORE the eucalyptus is added brighten the colour by mitigating the effects of said water (which tend to dull things in my limited experience )

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    • Thanks for the tip–I have lucked in on putting the rhubarb in before the eucalyptus because I was just trying to extract the oxalic acid and that seemed the logical order of things (I don’t fancy getting well cooked rhubarb leaves out of my wool so I am sieving them out). Happily, I don’t use Adelaide water much either, being blessed with a lot of tank capacity. You’ve spurred me on–after stewed rhurbarb and ginger on the weekend, I have E Cinerea leaves simmering now!

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