It may be the water you're using, Stophel. I've had good luck with soft water, but never hard water.
I agree with RIO vinegar will set the dye. Remember coloring eggs for easter.
You may want to try using oak bark. Finely chop oak bark and boil in water, strain out oak bark add 1/2 cup vinegar. "Test First"! soak small piece of fabric for 24 hours. Do not rinse! Hang dry fully. Then wash with another 1/2 cup vinegar, rinse and dry.
"I don't know where we're goin', but there's no sense bein' late." Quigley
I've dyed several types of cloth and found not to expect perfect non blotchy coloration like modern dyes. After sitting in the dye for several days remove and let Completely dry, shake hard to remove debris. Then redye a second time. Again let dye completely before rinseing. It may be the hardness or alcalinity of your water or if you washed the material Prior to dyeing. Also the container your useing could have an effect. Remember natural dyes are no where near the consistency of modern dyes and sun, rain etc has its effects on the dyed fabric. I've used walnut dye several years old and it turned out the same as fresh.
The way I was taught how to dye with walnuts is once you have either green or dried, boil a big-honkin' pot of water and put in a bunch of nuts. Let it sit for a while and stir it and it will turn almost black. Pour through cloth to strain out debris then if you are lucky, the dye you've made will still be hot. Put in shirt(s) or whatever will fit and let set an hour or so. Take outside and hang up for a day or so letting the dye drain out, then repeat if you want (vinegar is good as a setter). Let dry completely then wash it gently with cold water to set it completely.
It WILL be blochy as Birdman says
I've gotten blotchy, I've gotten solid, it just depends on the soaking and the amount of liquid vs. the amount of cloth from what I've seen.
If you can't get the dye to work, wash the fabric in lye soap.... you may have to get a bar of real lye soap or make it, then use a cheese grater and grate a 1/2 cup. Dissolve this in hot water in your machine at "small" setting, and then wash the fabric in the machine. Linen sometimes has oils in it, the flax plant is after all, where we get linseed oil....and the lye soap solution should help. Rinse in hot water and still hot add to a hot dye bath.
It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
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