It all started because I was going to do a post about dyeing with dandelions. Then I saw a pattern for a felt dandelion on the internet and yesterday afternoon when Tom took the children out I decided to make one and feature it in this post:
It was fun to make but the dandelion was a giant one that looked like it had eaten too much fertilizer. When the children saw it they said "If you put that on the nature table it'll be bigger than Mother Earth". So I searched in my books:
and combined the patterns in both and came up with this one:
Bet you can't tell which is the real one!
It's still a bit big and I think I'll reduce the pattern even more to make a whole bunch of them. It seems fitting to have them on the nature table as I'm currently dyeing with them. Here they are - monster dandelion, real one and number two:
If you fancy making one let me know and I'll write out a pattern. I'm going to make some smaller ones as I said and this time I'll record my measurements.
Well, onto dyeing then. Two weeks ago I was combing the lanes for dandelions and in the past week our little orchard has been covered in them:
So now is a good time to have a go at natural dyeing as I'm sure you'll be able to easliy lay your hands on some. As with all flowers you need to pick the heads, cover them with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for an hour and then take out the mushy flowers. Either cool the liquid and add your mordanted fibre or if you're mordanting at the same time add the hot fibres. Either way bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour to an hour. You should get a nice pale yellow (pic below).
the dyepot will turn a murky sort of grey/green:
Put your fibres back in and simmer for about 15 minutes and you will get a very pretty, light sage green:
That's the plain old dandelion yellow on the left and various shades of the green on the right. They look much nicer than in this picture actually.
My fave greens are goldenrod/indigo and turmeric/indigo but it is nice to have a few of these dull greens in your stash too. When I made this nightlight ring I found that I used the dull greens much more:
Once again I would suggest you get a book out on dyeing and read a little bit more. Iron is used to 'sadden' colours and too much can make fibres brittle I believe. One last point. I left the flowers in the pot as I was dyeing blanket. If you plan to dye fleece or knitting wool I would suggest you strain the dyebath as you will go mad trying to pick bits out of the dyed fibres.
Well, it's STILL easter holidays and I'm off to visit my parents tomorrow - just overnight. This time we're going on the train as I have some train vouchers to use. Raj is very excited and I'm thinking two changes, three-and-a-half hours door to door (double what it takes in the car) but what the hell - we're on holiday. "Let the train take the strain" as those old adverts used to say. I certainly will .................