Friday, September 20, 2013

Natural dyeing: biden and goldenrod.

Recently I did some more dyeing. Things seem to be wrapping up for the season, so I wanted to take advantage of using these flowers while they are blooming everywhere. :) Except for experimenting with black walnuts, this might be the last bit of dyeing I do until next spring. I wanted to try pokeberries, but most of them seem to have shriveled up already. If I can gather enough of them, though, I will try it.
First I used some biden (also called tickseed sunflower). We had a few of these flowers blooming near our house earlier this summer, but over the past couple of weeks they are everywhere. There's probably enough just on our property to dye pounds and pounds of fiber, not to mention all of it that's growing on roadsides nearby. But you just pick the blooms, so it can take one person quite a while, even if there are an abundance of flowers. :)

I had a ball of white wool from Hobby Lobby that I already mordanted in alum. I decided to give solar dyeing a try. I love the idea of sticking a jar of water and flowers outside and letting the sun do the work for you. You don't have to heat up anything! The fiber weighed .28 lbs, and you use a 1:1 ratio, so I picked .28 lbs of blooms and put them in a jar with hot water outside in the sun.

The water starts turning yellow within minutes, which is neat to watch. :) I left the flowers in the jar for about two days. The water was orange by that time, so I stuck the yarn in and left it for a couple more days.

The yarn turned out a nice light orange/yellow color. But I already had a skein of yarn from Joann's that was almost exactly this same color, and I really wanted a darker orange anyway. So about a week later, I decided to dye it again.

I picked another .28 lbs of blooms and dyed the yarn outside on the burner on my dad's grill. And this darkened up the color to a really pretty orange. I'm so pleased with this and I'm glad I didn't leave it as it was. I like this color much better. :)

While I was dyeing that yarn, I decided to dye some from goldenrod, too. I used some random yarn I got in a mixed bag at a yarn sale. You have to have a 10:1 ratio for goldenrod, so I ended up picking about 2.5 lbs. That's not as much as you would think, though, because you leave several inches of the stem with the blooms and it weighs more than you would expect.

The color turned out just like you'd expect it to: a pretty yellow with a hint of green to it.


  1. Even though I'm not into knitting or yarn or anything like that, I think it's really neat how you've been making your own yarn and dying it naturally. There's something really cool about using as simple as flowers to color something.


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