Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dyeing Yarn with Zinnias

As I mentioned in a previous post, my interest in natural dyeing has been renewed.  I have kind of gone crazy with dyeing yarn (which you will see in my next five... or ten... blog posts) starting with zinnia flowers from the garden.

I started out by weighing the flowers and getting a 2:1 ratio of flowers to fiber.  My skeins are 3.5 oz, and I also dyed a small amount of wool for spinning, so I used about 8 oz of zinnias.  Then  I simmered the flowers in my dye pot for about an hour to extract the color, and strained out the flower pieces so it doesn't tangle with the yarn.

The yarn is 100% wool, pre-mordanted in alum so it will accept the color better and be more light-fast.  Before adding the wool to the dye bath, I soaked it in water so it will dye more evenly.  After an hour or so in the hot dye bath, I removed the yarn, let it cool, and rinsed out the remaining dye.  The zinnia dye turned out to be a gorgeous buttery yellow, much more subdued than the turmeric.

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