Monday, April 23, 2007

Experiment with Natural Dyes

This experiment started early last week as my youngest walked around the front yard with a cute little bucket. She needed something to put in the bucket. Dandelions were plentiful, so we decided to pick dandilions. The older kids got into the fun too and we soon had a bucket of dandelion flowers.

I cooked them in a crock pot, poured the dye into a bucket to cool...and then left it for a few days. I wasn't sure of what to do next and after enough days I tossed the whole mess.

I then borrowed a natural dyeing book from my weaving guild's library (I LOVE libraries!) and when my neighbor showed up with a bag of dandelions that her kids had picked for me, I was ready to dye wool!

~5oz of dandelion flowers and stems cooked for 1/2 hour in ~1 gallon of water. I fished out all the plant matter, added more water and my presoaked wool (4 oz), and simmered the wool for 1 hour.

And this is what I got:

If you look really closely at that picture you will see that the wool at the bottom is browner that then wool at the top. However, if you don't have the undyed wool for reference it looks mostly like undyed wool. This is obviously not the right way to dye with dandelions! My guess is that this would work a lot better with a mordanted wool (I didn't do any sort of mordant!).

I took a ball of the dyed roving out for artsy photos this afternoon anyway!

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