Our oriental lilies have been in full and fragrant bloom for the past few weeks. Blooms are just now starting to wither and drop and I thought I'd try using them for dyeing.
I placed the petals in an enameled pot with a little bit of water and simmered them for about an hour until eventually the water took on a lovely rose color. I added my wool, some cotton floss, and a bit of vintage lace that I had mordanted with alum and let them steep for a few hours on low heat. I was excited about the color that the wool seemed to be taking up but then when I removed it from the pot...this.
The wool is a pale grey with a slightly violet tint and the cotton floss picked up a very slight pink hue.
Not exactly exciting stuff.
So I tried something else. I ground up two iron tablets and put them in the dye bath and added new wool and cotton floss. The addition of the iron turned the rose color to a dark aubergine color. After steeping overnight this is what we have.
Here's the two side by side.
Yeah, not exactly my most wow-inducing experiment. I'm saving the dye and will try again on silk, just for grins.
A few weeks ago I picked an assortment of petals and plants from the yard for dyeing and it's been steeping on my windowsill since. I have some marigolds in there, lily petals, assorted yellow weeds, and some Virginia Creeper which is supposed to make a peach color. I figured I'd end up with a tan color because of the mix of colors I had chosen. I didn't have any alum when I put this batch of flowers on simmer so I added salt instead. I poured the whole mess into the jar with the fiber and set it on my windowsill. The color, as predicted, slowly turned a pale brown color.
Pale brown is fine but since I now had alum on hand I figured I'd pour this melange back into the dyepot and add some alum just to see what I got. (because I'm precise like that) This is what I ended up with...
... a natural yellow color that I really like. It's more subtle than the parsley-dyed yellow I've gotten, but more yellow than onion skins. I'm guessing the marigolds were the strong flowers in this bunch.
I love the experimentation aspect of natural dyeing even when they're not wildly successful, and I'm glad I made a little time for it, I hadn't realized how much I missed doing it. I'm sure you'll be seeing some of these colors in my work very soon.