My favorite natural dye so far is made using marigolds. I love yellow – with sunflower yellow being probably my favorite form of yellow (though a pale light lemony yellow makes me really happy too). So, imagine my delight when I realized that I had picked up an ounce of dried marigold flowers at the Rhinebeck festival to make a marigold dye and had forgotten it was in the cabinet with my other dyes until I was looking for my indigo powder. I still had two mordanted undyed skeins of yarn in my stash so off we went.
First I put my one ounce of marigold flowers into one quart of water and stirred it.
I brought the water to a boil and boiled the flowers for 60 minutes.
Then I strained out the marigolds using a metal strainer – next time I will use something which is even tighter – maybe lined with pantyhose type netting – as tiny portions of flower still got into the dye pot.
This left a pot of really beautiful orangey dye.
I then let the contents of the pot cool down while I soaked my pre-mordanted skein of yarn for 15 minutes. I then added the wet skein of alum mordanted 100% merino wool to the dye pot and slowly (over 45 minutes) raised the temperature of the dye to 180 degrees.
While the dye pot looked to hold alot of orange, the yarn picked up the yellow/gold tones of the flowers.
I simmered the yarn at 180 degrees for 30 minutes and then left it in the pot to cool. After the yarn and the dye was cooled I lifted it out and hung it over the pot while the last of the dye drained back into the dye pot.
I let this yarn dry completely before rinsing – I did not think it really made any difference in the amount of times I had to rinse this yarn though and the first skein ended up felting alot in the process. While the resulting yarn is useful for me, it is not sellable. Too nubby. I really have to work on getting a more successful rinse process down.
As you can see from the above, there was still plenty of dye left in the pot to do a second exhaust bath skein – which I did. I followed the same procedure as I did for the first pot and then left the second skein in the pot overnight before draining it, letting it dry and then rinsing it.
Here are the two resulting skeins of marigold dyed yarn.
Obviously the darker gold skein is the first skein I dyed and the lighter gold is the second one. I also took a picture of the two skeins against the Weld-dyed yarn just to show you the difference in yellows that I have been able to get with the natural dyes.
The orange tones in the marigold are more obvious when set against the weld.
I am very very happy with how this all worked. Needless to say, I plan on planting LOTS of marigolds this spring. I am hoping to be able to produce an even stronger orange tone by harvesting the redder plants separately from the golden marigolds. I will let you know how it goes.
I am still hoping to be able to show you something new that anyone can do at home next week – but there’s alot of prep that has to be done first. Fingers-crossed it will be really cool. Be sure to check back.
Tomorrow is something wonderful that Chip made – and Yikes! – I have to get to work on what I want to show you on Friday. This whole working thing sure can get in the way of keeping up with projects. :p Thanks for checking in with us.