01 March 2018

Live and Let Dye


Last September, I began plucking all my marigolds so I won't have 10 million more this year. I had read marigolds make really good dye, so I had to try.


The dye juice was SO gorgeous!!!






This experiment, though, left me feeling natural dyeing is mostly a waste of time. The marigold dye juice was gorgeous, but the final color, which solar cooked and dyed in the living room window since about October, wasn't even as good as the sumac berries I dyed with last September...


marigold, sumac first dip and second dip

I decided to overdye the cotton marigold yarn with one of my new fiber reactive shades, flame red. I had to mordant it in soda ash first, and the soda ash brought out some color! I decided to stick with this odd yellow because it's natural. Not what I thought I'd wind up with when I started this journey last fall, but much better than before the soda ash dip!


marigold-dyed yarn in soda ash solution

While I had the soda ash out and ready to dye, I decided I'd go ahead and dye a bit more crochet thread, even though I have more than enough dyed thread right now. My last session hadn't produced the colors I thought I would get, and research before dyeing this time around taught me once again that solar dyeing is different than microwave dyeing.


last batch before washing


last batch nightshade after washing

I like the colors; they just aren't what I had hoped.

I hoped to get a truer rendition this time of, specifically, nightshade, kingfisher and eggplant. Last time, I didn't realize I was nuking the color out of existence by cooking my soda ash solution and my dyes too hot stove top and in the microwave. I went with a much cooler temperature this time.


flame, sky blue, nightshade, kingfisher, lime pop, eggplant,
sage, burgundy, cinnamon and terracotta before washing

After washing...












Success! The deep, intense colors I hoped for this time, stuck! So now it was time to dye the white long-sleeved T-shirts and turtlenecks I bought several months ago to replace the fraying 20-plus year-old ones in my closet!




Still not quite as dark and bright as I'd hoped, probably because I didn't use enough dye, but I like the nearly final results. I might dip the lime pop T-shirt one more time to get a little more color into it, but the others are ready to wear! It feels like a whole new wardrobe!


Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

12 comments :

  1. Sure shows that you can get there, or almost there, with determination. Sure had a bright red to it indeed in the jar.

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    1. Always fun to get back into dyeing, Pat, but probably won't be doing it with flowers anymore. :)

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  2. I love the vivid shades of the threads! Great job all around.

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    1. Thank you, Chris! I'm very excited for the new shades, too, and in particular, I can't wait to try either a hummingbird or a kingfisher with the kingfisher shades!

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  3. Wow! Those are beautiful colors! Persistence pays off...a good lesson for me. You have some lovely new t-shirts for the next 20 years.

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    1. Thank you, Nonnie! Let's hope these shirts are made well enough that they will indeed last as long as the ones made before the 21st century! :)

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  4. Oh gosh I love your t-shirts. Great colors, and more to come I'm sure.

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    1. Thanks, Donna! I am going to have to figure out a different way to dye such big items before I do more. I need constant motion and better temperature control than I can get from a big pickle jar!

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  5. Your "cold fusion" crochet threads are so luxurious! I gasped and now long to stroke the vibrant colors!! Well done

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    1. Thank you, Annette, and thank you for the HUGE smile! I will be stroking those darker colors with a crochet hook very soon, I hope!

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  6. Sorry your natural dying did not work so well. I have not had much luck with natural dyes. I use the Proactive dyes most of the time. Great colours of cord. I also do some shirts now and then.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy! Natural dyeing was fun for a while, but when the colors were gone so quickly, that made the months invested into obtaining such colors seem sort of pointless...

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