Oh my this swapping thing is so addictive. I can't believe that just for all the stuff I don't want, I'll be getting Lambs Pride wool; some magazines, lots of chocolate chips, sizzix cutters, fabric, dollmaking stuff and much more besides. It's recycling at it's best isn't it? Exchanging the stuff I don't need anymore for the stuff you don't need anymore and I'm going through my shelves again soon, I can tell you!
Now I promised to tell you about dyeing with daffodils in this post and many people complimented me on the colour which was a bright, bright yellow. However, I got that colour in a roundabout way and I'm going to show you how.
First off I started with no less than 40 bunches of daffodils (which I did get cheaply thank goodness) - weighing nearly a kilo. I put them in a pan and brought them up to boil and simmered it all for an hour. I had to do it in two lots because they didn't all fit in my pan.
Then I let the pan cool overnight and next morning I strained out the flower mush and added my mordanted fibre. I also put in a few bits of onionskin as I'd read that it enhances the yellow of flowers. Brought it up to boil and simmered for about an hour.
Now you can't really see here but once I let the pan cool a bit I took out some fibre and rinsed it. It was a pale hay, goldy colour and not at all to my liking. I was worried that it would dry even lighter.
So I did an experiment on the side. I took out some of the dye liquid and I added washing soda to it which makes the water alkaline and I added a bit of wet fibre to it and compared the result.
The washing soda'd stuff is on the left and as you can see it went a vivid yellow:
Then being the impetuous person that I am I decided that I preferred the brighter shade so I bunged a bit of washing soda into the big pan. It went darker:
Yep, if you flick back to the other pic you can see the difference in colour. I left the fibre in for 10-15 minutes and then I washed the whole lot in dishwashing liquid which is ph neutral. Here's another picture of the two shades. This is now just a memory as I put ALL the fibre back in the pan to brighten!
There still seemed to be a lot of colour in the pan so I added some mordanted blanket yesterday and boiled it for about 20 minutes. I've read that washing soda isn't good for wool so I didn't want to risk leaving it in for too long. However, as another experiment I did put two pieces in the pan overnight (without boiling or simmering). There was plenty of colour in the pot as you can see:
So, what's my advice if you want to try daffodils? I'd say that unless you want to dye 250g fibre and about 250g blanket you won't need as many flowers as I did, thankfully. The washing soda seems to make the dye more brilliant and to make it go further. So for 100g of fibre or blanket you'll only need about 200g of flowers. Boil up your flowers, cool in the pan overnight, strain and add your fibre. Boil and simmer and then add about a teaspoon of washing soda or maybe a teeny bit more if it doesn't darken. Agitate the fibre and leave for 15 mins. Then rinse in dishwashing liquid (I just use Ecover) and wash out and leave it to dry. By the way only rinse in hot, hot water if you've just taken it out of a hot pan otherwise the change in temperature will make the fibre felt.
VERDICT: I love the colour of the blankets but I'm not so sure about some of the fibre. The curls are lovely, bright and shiny but I'm not so sure about the bluefaced leicester - it may well be different once it's carded. On the whole it was definately worth it but if I'm going to do it again I need to grow my own flowers. If that's the case then it would be cheaper to grow french marigolds which give just as nice a yellow. But you know me - at least I can say - been there, done that when I next walk past daffodils.
Just want to leave you with a lovely song that my children all sang at Kindy before I get back to my
Daffodillies, daffodillies you're so pretty I was told,
because you shine like the sunshine, like heavenly gold
because you shine like the sunshine like heavenly gold.