My Japanese indigo exploded this year. It has been in this pot for 3 years with a meager harvest. I had to pick tiny bits of leaves at a time to have enough dry to dye with. But this year, WOW! I am ready to harvest this pot and there is still time enough for it to grow for a second harvest.
Sunshine from Garden Marigolds
I think I struck gold! Extracting the dye from dried marigolds couldn’t have been easier. Simply put them into a jar and cover with water. There is almost immediate color. The problem was that in all my resource materials the only marigold dye recipe I found was for fresh petals. So as is common for me, it was a seat of the pants moment.
I soaked 50 grams of dried petals overnight. Then I drained them, reserving the liquid gold. I put the soaked petals into a large crockpot and simmered on low setting for 2 hours. Some natural dyes tend to go brown if the heat is too high so I use my crockpot in the studio to keep the heat low and constant.
I love the variation of colors from the dye pot. The lemon yellow silks are a ray of sunshine. The indigo pieces that were over-dyed got some much needed zip. The eco-printed long sleeved tee looks amazing and I love the splash of color added to the linen scarves. There was a lot of color changed on the indigo scarf, but not as much on the logwood. I think they are all keepers. The bonus is that I still have 2 quarts of dye extract. I will have to figure out a WOF (weight of fabric) recipe for fellow dyers who like things more exact!
Harvesting Summer Gold
By the end of autumn, my marigolds were in over drive. Yellow ones, orange ones and red/orange ones. A bucket over my arm and fingers ready to pinch there lovely heads off was all I needed. They dried all winter and with dyeing season coming into full swing, it was time to see what these would do, but first the petals had to be separated from the sepal and the receptacle. But never fear, nothing is going to waste.
The sepals when soaked overnight in a pot yielded a soft yellow after a little alum was added. I was surprised! I might have been able to leave them all attached but would not want to dilute the strength of the final marigold dye bath.
Next up, results!