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Laura Ingalls Wilder

The One, Two, Threes of Pioneer Life

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Five colors

   This wool is red, yellow,
green, gray and brown


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Wool Dyed 5 Different Colors

These pieces of wool have been colored with dyes made from plants. The red color was made from the roots of the madder plant. A vegetable dye made from this plant was used in prehistoric times. The red coats worn by the British soldiers during the Revolutionary War were dyed with madder. To make the brown color, black walnut hulls were boiled and soaked in water. The yellow dye was made with the flowers of the goldenrod plant, which grows in most parts of the United States and is in bloom from late August until frost. In Farmer Boy, Almanzo's sisters, Alice and Eliza Jane, gathered roots and bark in the woods. To make dye, the roots and bark were boiled in big caldrons. To color the wool thread she had spun, Almanzo's mother dipped the thread into the caldrons.

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Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum
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