Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marigold Dyeing

I spent a little time outside  in my yard yesterday enjoying a beautiful fall day - next week winter is supposed to arrive here in Utah! I noticed that the marigolds were still blooming like crazy and I rememberd that they can be used as a natural dye for wool, so I picked a bunch of the flower heads and went inside to give it a whirl. It actually turned out pretty good - I got a bright golden orangy color - the book I used says this dye is very stable and won't fade out like a lot of the other natural dyes are prone to do.

After treating the wet wool with alum and cream of tarter to mordant it, I layered it in my glass cassarole dish (used only for dyeing), sprinkling flower heads between each layer of fabric. Then I poured some boiling water to fill the dish halfway - covered it with foil - and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

After letting it cool slowly for several hours, I pulled it out, washed it up and started oohing and aahing...... Now don't laugh at the shape of the finished product - I've mentioned before that all my wool comes from recycled clothing, so you can tell that I used the wool from a pair of thrift store pants! LOL Kinda pretty, huh? One interesting thing that I noticed is that it smelled like artichokes in the kitchen while this was cooking - yum! Much better than the normal smell of wet wool mixed with vinegar.

Last night was my quilt meeting. Jayna makes and sells her jewelry at a great local shop called Just a Bed of Roses. She taught us how to embellish an old skeleton key using wire & burlap & lace & ribbon & charms to wear as a necklace - so that was a fun activity.

Besides being a quilter, Jackie is an avid knitter also. In fact she has knitted over 100 pair of socks through the years. She recently found a pattern for an afghan that she's now knitting using all the little leftover bits and pieces of the socks she's knitted. The finished size will be 60" x 60" - the perfect size for snuggling under on the couch! It's just beautiful and all the yarn she used is wool, so it's going to be really warm. Each square is about 4".


Cheryl said...

Your wool came out great. Thanks for sharing the process. I will be planting marigolds in the spring specifically for this process (and shopping the thrift store for wool.)

Cathy G. said...

Oh Wow Gayle! I immediately thought how great your wool would be hooked into a sunflower! Gorgeous color! Interesting mordant used too! Thanks for letting us see this! I'm in the mood to do some dyeing too but have to find some precious time!
Enjoy this week before winter!
Cathy G

Kim said...

The wool came out gorgeous and vibrant. I've never heard of dyeing with marigolds but your results speak volumes. It's going to look beautiful hooked into something.

Rugs and Pugs said...

Gayle ~
Great job on the wool. When you put it in the oven, did you heat it up and then let it cool down?
I just love the skeleton key necklaces. I can't believe that lap quilt is knitted!
Thanks for a great post.
Pug hugs :)

Barb said...

That was interesting...the way you dyed that wool....just loved it.

Deb said...

I never imagined that you would get that much color out of marigolds. That wool came out a great color!!

Love those skeleton necklaces. It looks like it was a really fun project. And I love that afghan too - what a great idea for using leftover wool.

Sharlene Washington said...

Nice pants Gayle! It turned out great. I haven't used any natural dyes myself, but my good hooker friend Lena has has great results with onion skins and avocado leaves too. There are endless possiblities. You have inspired me to try something new. I have always wondered how beets would work... I should just jump in and give it a try.

Lori said...

Awesome dyeing! I love that you used marigolds!!
I adore the key necklaces. I wish I had a place close by that made cool stuff like that.
The "leftover" sock blanket is wonderful.

Primsue said...

The wool turned out awesome - great idea.

PammyJ said...

love the marigold dyeing! must try that next summer.

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