golden rod

although the dye garden is past its prime it didn’t mean I couldn’t dye. while we were walking  at the cabin last week I spotted one of my favorite dye plants.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAno – not the corn but look at the pretty deer looking at us look at them.

no I am talking about the golden rod blooms in the bottom of the picture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t even have to leave the yard to pick golden rod there is plenty growing in my flower beds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI filled a pot with the flower tops, covered them with water and then set over the fire pit to gently simmer. the water never reached a boil just steamed. I keep some old white enameled pans near my fire and occasionally sample the colors. eventually(about an hour) I get a rich yellow color and then I discard the first set of blossoms and add fiber(mordanted with alum) and more flower trimmings. when the fiber is added the dye suddenly looks cloudy or milky instead of clear.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthen I go and garden some more coming back to check on my yarn once in a while. my gardening consists of wandering around trimming dead wood and picking blooms or gathering seeds for next year. sometimes my gardening is really just sitting in the yard and knitting while looking at the garden. I am a very lazy gardener ; )OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found this neat grill rack at Menards last year – it has a pin on the rack that lets me swivel it off the fire and also adjusts the height of the rack. once I have pans heated I often move them to the side of the fire pit and let them stay warm there. once I am happy with the yarn I pull it out of the dye bath  and squeeze out the excess water and hang to dry. I wait a day or two before giving the yarn a rinse. also remember the fiber will look darker when it is wet then when it is dry.P1010125so here is some of the yarn set out to dry – golden rod on the left. golden rod can be a very intense almost neon yellow. I love this yellow and will use some of  it to over dye with indigo and walnut for a nice green and a golden brown.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope to get a couple more days this week to play at the cabin.

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2 Responses to golden rod

  1. Pia says:

    I wonder if different goldenrods dye differently. I’ve noticed in the forest two different populations that bloomed separately, they are over now but the ones in my garden are only just blooming now. I dyed a bit with them yesterday 4:1 and got a completely different yellow from any I’ve seen others get. And green with the leaves alone! (took the stalks off as I’ve read they just take up space)

    • Mary Jo says:

      I bet it is possible that different golden rods yield different colors. it sounds like the perfect experiment for you to try.
      I will have to save leaves from golden rod the next time I dye with them to try this.

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