Monday, August 1, 2011


We planted marigolds to line our short front sidewalk last year, and every time I picked spent blossoms off, I thought to myself: I really should save some of these for dye. But I never did.

This summer, Ms New Spinner, fresh from the excitement of trying the wheel, and making her own spindles (and in the middle of reading MG Fantasy V3.1, which heavily features spinning and dyeing), said, "Grandma, can we use some flowers to dye yarn, like they do in Madwyn's village?"

There was only one answer to that question. We picked 20-25 giant marigold blossoms, and Gramma washed out the bugs (Ms New Spinner is fearless with the spindle. Not so much with spiders), and then we both stripped the blossoms and set the brew to simmer for a couple of hours, as the yarn soaked in hot water.
We added alum directly to the dyebath, and then 2 hanks of yarn (one CA Red, and one white Romney- both handspun, and some unknown long-wool roving). And then we let it simmer and steep for a couple more hours.

The above is the result of the first dyepot. But there was a lot of color left, so we soaked and added more white and gray Romney.

This is the final output of the day's dyeing. The hank (gray Romney) on the far left was the last one in the pot, and there was very little color left. The one on the far right (white Romney), ditto. Ms Spinner will take the roving home with her (if she doesn't spin it first here), and the CA red hank. I believe the rest wants to be a winter shawl.


Gnat said...

How awesome! I wish my grandma and me got to do something like this!

Mariah said...

I fully expect my kids to do this with their Grandma K (aka Caela). How awesome of you to spread the love of fiber to a new generation.

joannamauselina said...

It is very nice looking. My daughter dyed a tee shirt with marigolds, and years later it was still a mellow yellow, and one of her favorites.

Kathleen Taylor said...

Thanks everyone! I'm having a wonderful time! Joanna- it never occurred to me to try a tee-shirt. It's nice to know that cotton dyes well too. All of the grands are going to tie-dye shirts later this week, but not with natural dyes.

Anne Arnold Pierce said...

you have an amazing Miss S. there with you. I love the yellow color. All the results look super in their own way.

Janet said...

I love those colours. Couldn't you just sit and look at them all day.