On a recent trip to my parents home, my husband cut down a few trees, trimmed a few trees, and I was the beneficiary of plant material that I will use in my dyeing experiments!
One tree that was cut down was a silver maple. The tree had just burst with seeds, those fun little helicopters that have entranced children for ages. (Okay, I am also amazed by them and could watch them fall from the sky for hours). I grabbed handfuls of the seed bunches and piled them into my paper grocery bag.
I also collected daffodils that had been smashed by falling tree limbs and branches. There weren’t too many, but I was able to gather a few more the following weekend when the daffodils were at the end of their bloom time. My first batch of flowers had been soaking for a week, and I simply added the new flowers in. I didn’t add anymore water because I had added too much the first time. I brought the dye batch to a slow simmer and allowed it to simmer for 35 minutes. I don’t really know how I came up with 35 minutes, but it is all an experiment with me!
Instead of throwing out the mushy leftovers from the daffodil dye bath, I decided to use the vase full of dyeing daffodils (did I mention my mom has a plethora of daffodils in her yards?). I plucked off the flower heads and added them to the dye pot as well. I have to admit that the mushy daffodils looked a little like cat vomit, but at least it didn’t smell like it! I added cold water to the dye pot and will bring it to a slow simmer for 30 minutes (experimenting once again!).
As much as I would love to report the colors I achieved on wool, I cannot. My next experiment is going to be in using roving to dye and then spin the yarn. Did I mention that I have never spun wool before? I am teaching myself with a drop spindle. I might just end up taking a class at Silver Creek Cabin, a yarn store in Buffalo, MN.