An annual or
biennial plant, native to Britain, Europe, and the Mediterranean.
The dye is produced in the leaves. Wild mignonette, Reseda
lutea, gives similar but weaker colors.
The Greek writer
Dioscorides, in the 1st century a.d., lists weld as a dyeplant.
The Romans used weld to dye wedding garments and the robes of the
Vestal Virgins. The Persians used weld dye.
In the Middle Ages,
weld was grown as a dyeplant throughout Europe and Britain.
Rosetti, writing in Italy, probably in 1548, includes recipes for
yellow dye, and for a green dye on linen using weld and verdigris.
Weld continued in
use until the 19th century when "old" fustic and
quercitron became more economical yellow dyes.
Weld has the
reputation of not being a very concentrated dye (compared to
fustic or quercitron), but it is more concentrated than many dye
Weld works best with
a slightly alkaline dyebath.
Keep the bath well
stirred because the pigment tends to settle to bottom of pot.
Do not boil the
dyebath, as boiling may make the yellows turn brownish.
Weld gives lemon
yellow on wool and silk with alum mordant, greenish yellow
with copper, and olive with iron. The colors are lightfast. There
are mixed reports on how successfully weld dyes cotton.
Use dried leaves,
equal to 1/2 the weight of fabric.
Crumble the leaves
and soak in warm water 6 hours.
Add a pinch of
washing soda and the fibers. Simmer fibers 1 hour.
alum & copper:
greenish brown brown