24 October 2013

Leaves of Gold


I was tempted to give up on natural dyeing when my second batch came out nearly the same color as the first batch - yellow - even though the dye plants I used were dramatically different. As a result, I began learning all kinds of different ways to make what would be yellow yarn turn out NOT yellow.

Secretly, though, I longed to find out what I would get if I simmered aspen leaves. I'm not a big fan of yellow... until September and October. Then, yellow is everything. I cannot get enough photos. I cannot ever find enough leaves. I never get tired of or bored with autumn gold hunts.

Back in July, I accidentally got a sneak peak of what this autumn would harbor for me.

I could not wait until the leaves began to turn! Even though I was still experiencing uncontrollable wildflower withdrawals!

Weather did not cooperate.




The worst thing that can happen to aspen leaves during the season of change is lots of rain and/or snow, plus temperatures too cold at night for leaves to cling to trees. We got all of the above.

In many places, the leaves were stripped from the trees. In many places, the fallen leaves were buried by snow. In most places I've been this autumn, aspen leaves turned black or brown. Most of the fallen leaves I could collect were dried, black or brown. I didn't know how much pigment I could get from dried leaves. I decided to try solar steeping a jar of brown and black aspen leaves to see what I would get. It took five minutes to fill that jar.

Filling a jar with yellow leaves took six hours!

yellow and brown aspen leaves

It was not an easy year to attempt dyeing with aspen leaves, but I did it. And I got yellow!

fool's gold

golden as aspen

successful gold rush

aspen T-shirt magic

Works on T-shirts, too!

And then, because I am not a yellow person, I had to try overdying one gorgeous aspen yellow hank with indigo. Ooooooooh, la la!!!

green with envy


  1. Wow quite golden indeed. Can you make gold bars too? I'd like a dozen or so haha

  2. I love the golden color, it's bright and cheerful. :)

    Blessings always sweet friend


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