Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dyeing Wool with Goldenrod

As a continuation of my natural dyes workshop at Arrowmont, I decided that the summer months were the perfect time to try dyeing some wool using goldenrod. I gathered some not too far from my house and spent a good part of the day extracting the color from it, mordanting the wool and dyeing it with the goldenrod. I am delighted with the results. 

Here are the freshly picked flower heads.

I placed them in my enamel pot with enough water to completely cover them and allow them to move freely.

As they gradually came to a boil, I simmered them for a good hour. During that time I watched the bright yellow color dull down and the water gradually gained a rich yellow color. Then I strained the flowers out of the liquid.

Here are my small skeins of wool being mordanted with potassium aluminum sulfate. 

My dye bath with the wool showed me that not all wool takes the dye at equal rates. I am dyeing some  Harrisville Highland 2ply and some 2 ply Paternayan tapestry yarn. The tapestry wool definitely took up more dye.

Here is the result of my dye day using goldenrod. I LOVE the resulting yellow colors and plan to use them later in the week with ferrous sulfate as a modifier and a dip in a pale natural indigo vat. As I reflect on these gorgeous colors, I think about being part of a wonderful history of when our ancient settlers in the Northeast had dyed in a similar manner for their weaving.

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