I have a multitude of marigolds blooming in my faraway garden. I planted them in hopes of using them as dyestuff. So today I walked out to my community garden plot to harvest marigolds. I came back with a large basketful.
I measured out about 12 ounces of marigold flowerheads. I put them in a pot and covered them generously with water. I read that marigolds make an intense dye bath, so I wasn't particularly worried about it being too diluted.
I simmered the marigolds for about 30 to 40 minutes (click on any picture to see it larger, then click back arrow to return to blog):
While the dye bath was simmering, I mordanted my wool. I measured out 4 ounces of superwash Bluefaced Leicester roving, and also grabbed a handful of rolags I had lying around, some from my Christmas fleece (a local wool of unkown type, given to me last Christmas), and some made from Cotswold sheep fiber that I have.
Mordanting about 4 ounces of wool meant measuring about 1 tablespoon of alum powder and one teaspoon of cream of tarter into a pot of water, bringing it to a simmer, adding the wool, and simmering for about 30 minutes.
After the marigolds had finished simmering in the dye bath, I strained them out:
I had lots of leftovers which didn't make it to the dye bath, so I'm freezing them for later use. Here they are laid out on a pan in the freezer, ready to turn all frozy:
With the wool mordanted, and the dye bath ready, I plunked the mordanted wool into the dye bath. I simmered the wool in the dye bath for about 30 minutes:
When the wool was done simmering, I took it out of the dye bath and let it cool to room temp. Then I rinsed it and hung it to dry:
The two rolags on the far left are the Cotswold wool, next comes a few rolags from my Christmas fleece , and the looped-several-times-over-the-bar stuff is the superwash BFL. I've found so far that superwash BFL takes natural dyes up really nicely into slighty richer colors than other things in the same dye pot.
Rolags (fiber carded with hand cards and then rolled off for spinning) are probably not the best form in which to dye fibers, but I mostly did it to see how the Christmas fleece and the Cotswold would take up the dye. It hasn't dried yet, but I think the superwash BFL is my favorite, followed by the Cotswold, and then the Christmas Fleece.