Natural Dyeing – mostly yellow

Ok, I’m obsessed. I read on a blog how addictive natural dyeing is and how you start looking at every plant wondering what colour might come from it. So far the answer seems to be yellow! 

I saw a fabulous green achieved with reeds, so I picked some, 

Reed flowers

but I think they were the wrong sort as they gave a pale yellow, so I bunged in some leftover black bean dye and got some mossy greens and greys.

Reed and black bean dye

The silks are a rather attractive pale grey. The wools are greener.

I went back and picked the other sort of reeds I’d seen. 

Flowers and stems ready to be turned into dye

Surprise surprise they gave me yellow. 

Reed dyeing

It looks quite brown in the picture,  but is a sort of olive on the wool. The silks are creamy yellow. The mordant is alum and cream of tartar. I added some alum mordanted fabrics to make up the weight and added some more to the exhaust dyebath and here they all are.

Reed dyeing

The bottom row are all mordanted with alum and cream of tartar. In the top row from the acid yellow velvet left are all mordanted with just alum. The wool and cotton to the right are also only mordanted with alum and went in the exhaust dyebath. The darkest brown is knitted wool and above it is the same fabric, but a different mordant.

Other yellows I have achieved are from rosemary.

Rosemary dye

This is a rather cheerful sunny yellow.

Brightest of all is the wild carrot, which I mistakenly picked thinking it was some late flowering cow parsley.

Wild carrot dyeing

Although the flower looks similar it has a little red bit in the middle, which is how I realised my mistake.

There is some golden rod coming out in the garden, but I really think I have enough yellows now!

I’ve got more, but I’ll save that for another post as I think this is quite long enough.


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