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Ok, so I have just come back from another re-enactment fair and not been able to find the colour linen that I would like, so I have decided to try to naturally dye some white linen myself, in the hope of achieving the colours I would like.

I bought a selection of natural dyes and mordants from PM Woolcraft a while ago and, now that I have read a few books on the subject, I'm about ready to begin. I only have one slight problem; all of the books I have read have all been related to how to dye wool shanks, while my project is about dying linen. So everything I will be doing will be a complete experiment, so I thought I would keep a project diary, which will hopefully allow the successful reproduction of my 'recipes'. As I have several colours I would like to achieve, I'm going to be doing several projects at the same time.

So these are the colours I am hoping to achieve:

A dark black linen (5m) for a kirtle outer.
A dark but vibrant green linen (5m) for lining my kirtle.
A rich red linen (5m) for a dress (probably a lining).
A goldy/yellow linen (5m) for a dress lining.

Preparations of the fabric
I washed all of the 20m of linen to remove the chemicals from the new fabric. I used a very small amount of detergent and I did not use any conditioner as I wanted to limit the number of chemicals in the fabric. (All of the books stressed the importance of limiting chemical interaction as it would effect the colour outcomes)

I cut the 20m length of linen into 5m lengths As I have a number of plastic boxes I thought I would use these as dye bathsdsc00016. I weighed one of the 5m linen pieces and found that it weighed XXX and then I added water and Alum. I left the alum and water mixture to soak over night. After risining it thoroughly I left it in the plastic box until my dye bath was prepared.

The dye bath was I used a whole bag of camomile ( 100 grams) then I began boiling the camomile in a largedsc00010


( I took this information from a photograph - I do not know where it was taken or who was responsible for writing this article)
During the middle ages the game of Stoolball was popular with women, its heyday being from the 15th to the 19th century.
The game of stool ball is believed to be the origins of modern cricket. A came called ‘creay’ was being played by boys in the 13th century. Cricket, as it became known in the 15th century, was played by both men and women without a fixed number of players. The ball was rolled, hence ‘bowling’. It was not until the 19th century that over arm bowling was introduced, said to have been developed for ladies playing in voluminous skirts. Traditionally, ladies played with a blue ball because it was thought that the colour of a red ball would make them ‘faint clean away’
stoolball2.jpgA three-legged milking stool was placed in the middle of a field and stones were thrown at it . Each player took their turn to defend the stool, using either hands or body to knock the stone away and score a point. The attacker had to hide the stool or catch the ball before he could change places with the defender. Running was unknown. Any number of players could take part and the highest scorer was the winner.

It  was a rough game and over the years it took on a more gentle nature when a ball was introduced in place of a stone, and a club rather than having to defend the stool with the body. As with most games, the rules of Stoolball varied from area to area. In some places the stool was defended with a stick or a battledore-shaped bar, while in other places they persisted in using the hands and the body to knock away the ball.