The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

Directions for Dying Yarn


Caroline Preston recipe book A P937 yarn1 copy.jpg
Caroline Preston recipe book A P937 yarn2 copy.jpg
Caroline Preston recipe book A P937 yarn3 copy.jpg


To Dye Yarn Blue —
Have a kettle that will contain 12 or 14 Gallons
Sunk in the Garden untill the Ground nearly
comes up to the edge of the kettle, Then have
A wide Plank or cover to fil the kettle quite
close to prevent rain from getting in to wett-
en the dye — have the chamber lye saved
in the months of April or May & let it
stand & add 2 pounds of Indigo put in a
strong coars Linen Bag and 2 pounds
of Madder in 2 other Bags -- so
that the Madder & Indigo may be
raked out ------- (Put in your yarn[)]

To Dye Black —
Take Black Walnut root scrape the root
& take the inside Bark -- & Boyl it untill it
becomes very strong - then take out all the Bark
with an open ladle and put in your Thread or
yarn _ & let it Boyl slow for two or three hours

you can add a spoon ful of Copres[?]
after you take out the Bark —.
To Dye Yarn

Take Chestnut Oak Bark Sasafras Roots Plumb
Bark - & boyl it very well in a Coper Kettle
You must prepair your yarn by washing it
out of strong soap suds - and after your Dye is boyld
down sufficiently - Take all the Bark out with an
open ladle - then add a little copres - & when you
put in your yarn lay a layor of fresh Bark &
a layor of yarn - this will make a fine Purple
Put in a good quantity of Elder Roots
& continew to moove the Hanks with a
stick while it is over the fire
or if you wish to dye Cotton Fustion
Allum watter must be made very strong & ring out
your cotton & then put it in dye & mind to
boyl it in Coper -- in the Dye made as
above directed

To Dye Woollen

Hickory Bark Persimon Bark - Sasafras roots
with a little Copres
Another maner to Dye Yarn Green

Dye your yarn Pale Blue & have it washed out
of the Blue Dye quite clean-
Then make a strong Dye of Hickry bark
Black Oak bark & Crab Apple bark and Boyl
all together well - after it is quite strong take
out the Bark and add several pounds of Allum
then Put in your Blue Yarn and stir it
Well in a Coper Kettle ---

To Dye Cotton Green

dye your cotton Blue then wash it clean & and
dip it in Copres & set it in Lye - if you find
it is not deep enough wash it clean and
put it again in the Blue dye

To Dye Cotton Fustian colour

Black Oak Bark Hickory Bark Boiled in a Coper
Kettle add the Allum and dye your cotton yellow
hang it out and dry it - then add your Copres
and dip it untill it gets the shade you
would like----


Preston, Caroline (Hancock), 1785-1847 (Mrs. William Preston), “Directions for Dying Yarn,” The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects, accessed April 21, 2024,