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.
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!
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!
Information on Silk Fabrics – Types, Terms, Weaves,
It was a mild winter and spring is early. My woad stayed green so I will have a bumper crop this year. I thought it best to use some of the leaves stored in my freezer. A funny thing happens with woad when heat is used. The indigotin present in the leaves turns shades of pink and maroon. When a dye vat is made with woad it is a beautiful blue. This was the blue dye plant in Europe before trade routes opened to the orient for other indigo sources.
2 upcycled silk blouses were layered with frozen woad leaves, then processed in the pressure cooker. The strong dye (indigotin) penetrated all layers of the bundles leaving full and ghost prints. I love the depth created with the leaves this way. Be sure to right click for an enlarged image to see the detail.
A local tree gave up dead limbs from a recent storm. I noticed they were covered with lichen so It was time for an experiment before they were carted off. I am always amazed at how nature continues to give to us.
the color within seconds of adding boiling water. You can see the color in the back cups after resting overnight. The left cup had a dash of bakng soda added, the right cup had a spash of ammonia added. The hanks are 1 yard of white homespun wool left overnight.
I can see that lichens are deserving of a dyer’s respect and further experimenting along with eco printing. However, a warning I keep reading about is to never remove these from a standing tree or rock. Only take windfall that might otherwise be headed for the burn pile. I don’t fully understand their part in our ecosystem but it is wise to be kind to nature.
Isn’t this glorious???? More than a year ago , and if I’m honest probably two, I eco printed this large piece of wool challis. And it was miserable. Meh! So it was stuck on the back of a shelf and forgotten. Moving into the new studio space I found it again. Can you believe I nearly tossed this out before? It was patiently waiting to be the star of the show.