Since I've started back to school, I've not been starting much new, though still keeping an eye on possibly useful items that come up on the lists. From Norsetalk2:
>What would be a period way to a veg tanned leather belt red?
There are a number of extant early and medieval recipes for dyeing leather
red. The most common dyestuff I've seen referred to for that purpose was
brazilwood, but madder was also used.
There is an extant Frankish belt in the Arnegunde grave; it's very
elaborate, with cutwork and gilded parchment and a big gilt bronze
buckle. It was dyed red with madder.
Here's an SCA-period recipe for dyeing leather red with madder (Rubia
tinctorum). It's from The Secrets of Alexis of Piedmont (1558).
"To Die Skinnes in chickweede, called in Latin Rubra Maiore, or Rubra
Tinctorum, into a Redde Colour.
"Having annointed, washed, wronge and layed abroad the skin, as is
aforesaied, wete it with water that white wine lees and baye salt hath ben
boiled in, and than wring him. Take than creuiles or crabbe shelles (be
they of the sea or of the river) burned into ashes, the whiche yon
shall temper with the said water of the lees and salt, and rubbe well the
skinne therwith, than washe him well with cleere water, and wringe
hym. This done, take ruddle tempered in water of lees, and rubbe the
skinne well over and over with it, and than with the foresayde ashes,
wasshinge, and wringinge it thre times. Finallye, after you have wasshed
him, and wringe him, if you thinke it not be well ynoughe, you shall geue
him one dienge with brasyll. The paste or masse of Rubia Tinctorum, must
be made with water that lees or tartre hath bene boiled
in, and the sayed water must be luke warme, and whan you make the paste of
ruddle, than leave it fo the space of a night. After this, put upon the
sayd Rubra Tinctorum, a lyttle alom, dragges,or lees, or Alome catinum,
steped in water. You maye also adde to it the colour of the shearing of
scarlet, whiche hath been taken oute boylinge in lye, which is a goodly
I can't speak for the Chivalry, of course. But I would be impressed
entirely to itty-bitty pieces if I had a squire who tried to dye his own
belt red with a period recipe. Let me know if you decide to undertake it,
or if you have questions.
Carolyn Priest-Dorman // Þóra Sharptooth