Weld – Medieval Dayglow (yellow)

NB: The dye REQUIRES the fibres you wish to use to be mordanted. Alum mordant will give the brightest yellow results.

What it looks like (dried and as a plant)

Weld (Reseda luteola) is a pretty wildflower, not invasive (in Ireland and the UK at least) with a tall spike of small yellow-white flowers. As a dyestuff it’s not so impressive, a bit straw-like and even smells a bit grassy.

Period correctness

Suitable for ALL medieval periods, Weld is one of the Big Three historical dyes and known to have been used since very early history and was popular and well used right through the medieval period in Europe. It is very lightfast and overdyes well to produce many colours.

Need to research in other areas outside of Europe.

How to use it

Soak the weld in water overnight. Simmer for about an hour but do not allow the weld to boil. Let the dye bath cool and strain and then add fibres and leave them for at the very least an hour, better overnight. You can then add more water to the strained weld to try for paler colours. It is a very bright, heading to green spectrum yellow. Using fresh weld, if you’re lucky enough to have grown some or found some, will give you an ever brighter result – chop it up, add to boiling water and simmer for about half an hour, strain and use as a dyebath

Things to be aware of

Water matters – Dye stuff in general can be highly sensitive to acid or alkaline conditions, it *DOES* make a difference. If you are not getting colours you are happy with from tap water try it with rain water.

Chalk is a useful modifier for weld – first mix to a paste with a little boiling water in a container then add to the pot with the weld while it is simmering for the last hour.

Iron modifies weld to a chartreuse green, while woad or indigo overdyeing creates what is commonly known as Lincoln green (I love it, it’s gorgeous). Madder overdyeing will make a great orange

Weld is light fast but slightly water soluble so don’t wash too hard.

Where to get it

In Ireland: https://appleoakfibreworks.com/
In the UK: wildcolours.co.uk

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