Natural Dye Samples no.10 of 2016


Hello everyone, today I am back with the last round of three dye tests I did and let me tell you that it was definitely a battle of the yellows and golds. For this round of tests that I conducted I used mainly odds and ends of flowers that I had collected and dyed that I wasn’t sure what colour would become of them.


I tested out red and coral milliflora petunias, pink snapdragons, and green-yellow petunias. I assumed that both of the petunia varieties would produce yellow hues because that is the most prominent colour of their flower, and I thought the milliflora petunias would be more gold and the regular petunias a more lemony bright colour. Whereas I thought the pink snapdragons would produce either a muddy colour or at least a very pale pink. My hypothesis was wrong and I got a yellow colour. I think this is because I dried the flowers, whereas if they were frozen they may have resulted in a vibrant pink.


This year beyond just learning what colours I can achieve from various plants around the garden, I have learned which ones I shouldn’t bother with because the results are not worth the effort and which ones and which plants I should either dry or freeze. For two years I have frozen my fern peony petals and both years it takes me forever to figure out what to use them for so I think this is a sign that I should simply dry them. So my rule of thumb for next year is that if I want to do a dye bath with the plant material simply dry it and if I want to do a bundle dye freeze it. Now I better go write that down in my notes so I don’t forget.


Moving along to the dye tests. Again if you have been reading for a while for technique I just tossed my dried goods into their own three respective jars that were filled with rainwater and then left them to steep for two days. When I came back I removed the petal slop from the now pigmented water and bung in my plethora of fabric scraps. This was left for another two days and when I came back I came to an excessive plethora of yellows.


I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned this before but my biggest pet peeve with natural dye books is that there are too many recipes for yellow, gold and brown dyes. This is mainly because they are the easiest colours to achieve when natural dyeing. Almost anything that is green will give you a yellow dye, there may be a few exceptions and not all green things are necessarily traditional and they may not have the most intense or fixed colours, etc. But moving along let’s get to the colours as the three materials did at least give different shades of yellow.


The pink snapdragons gave the deepest colour and it was quite a yellow gold. There were no overlying deep rich tones to it. It was purely yellow gold. I do like the colour very much as it is one of the more vivid yellows I have achieved through experimentation. The surprise though through this test is how well the merino yarn sample soaked up the colour. I have dedicated the first ball of yarn I have ever spun to dye tests because it isn’t a beautiful ball of yarn, it is how you would expect a first go at something to look but I digress. The merino really slurped up the golden colour, which was a first.


In most of the dye samples where I have tested the merino it takes on a weak shade of the dye bath but this time it was one of the deeper shaded fibre samples. So I was very pleased with that and I want to test out more of the various coloured snapdragons to see if I have a similar experience with the merino.



The milliflora petunias gave a neutral yellow that is almost to the point of being a skin tone. When you look at it very closely I think most people would say it is a flesh tone but at a normal glance it is still gold to me. So I suppose it is a pale gold-brown. I don’t know how to exactly describe it but this is the best description I have been able to come up with.


But you can judge the photos for yourself. I wouldn’t use this colour unless I was making a flesh toned doll or something and I don’t see that happening any time soon so I might try freezing the flowers to see how the results vary.


And lastly the regular yellow petunias gave a very buttery yellow. It is very similar to the yellow achieved with a thyme dye bath. So overall the colour is very soft and non-aggressive. And not too surprisingly the yellow does mirror that of the yellow on the petunia itself. So in conclusion a nice colour but there is other materials that give the same colour so you be the judge if the colour is worth the trouble of gathering the materials for.


I hope you enjoyed these golden fall samples, until next time!










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