Dandelion dye

A few days ago I picked some dandelions in the hedgerow across the road at the back of the house, and wanted to see what colour they would produce as dye. Having had an excellent bright lemon yellow from the daffodils I used previously, I predicted that these dandelions might give more of an orange/yellow.

Having researched them in Amy Stewart’s Wicked Plants I realised that they too are very poisonous, apart from the leaves which may be used in salads. With this in mind, I wore protective gloves when picking them and also boiled them up outside where the fumes would not affect anyone.

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After straining the pot, I left a square piece of muslin and a long ribbon of it in the dye, and also added a small amount of silk thread. the fabric had previously been mordanted with alum and soda crystals, but the silk thread had not.

I left them to steep in the dye pot for three days, then went to check on the results. This time, I would describe the colour of the muslin as being a pale warm beige, with a slightly pinkish tone.

20140420_120750As a contrast, the silk thread turned a wonderful gold colour, and that was without the use of a mordant! I have hung these with all my previous dyeing experiments at the window in my studio.

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Left to right : Oakmoss Lichen, Daffodil, Nettle and Dandelion

Next I plan to try some yellow lichen, as I spotted some yesterday whilst out on a bike ride. I need to wait for some better weather to pick it though, as these April showers have really been awful lately!

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