This is a blog post I started last year, when I was in a yarn dyeing frenzy. It sat as a draft with pictures for months and months... But last week I dyed with Goldenrod again (but forgot to take pictures) so I thought this would be a fitting post. I have talked about yarn dyeing a few times on the blog, including this post with a more detailed description of the process.
Goldenrod is a wildflower (or weed, depending on who you ask) that grows in empty lots, along highways, and pretty much everywhere in Ohio in the late summer and early fall. Last year a coworker filled a trashbag for me with the Goldenrod plants growing in his backyard. This year I was able to scavenge some from an empty lot down by the railroad tracks. Last year I used the flower, stems, and leaves to make the dye bath, but you can also get nearly the same color from just the flower heads.
I simmered the plant for about an hour before straining out the plant material. I bought a big mesh ladle thing from the Chinese grocery store and it works great for this! Meanwhile, I prepared my yarn by mordanting it in a solution of alum. The yarn came out a beautiful, bright yellow.
I made a TON of dye that day, so I also dyed two additional skeins of yarn and treated them with an iron afterbath. To get the iron solution I soaked a bunch of rusty nails and other metal bits in a jar with water and vinegar. Then I put the solution in a pot and heated it to almost a boil. One skein I dipped from the dye bath into the iron bath for about 20-30 seconds (the color changes right before your eyes, it is amazing.) That one came out a lovely light green. The next skein I put into the iron bath for longer, probably 1-2 minutes, and it came out a dark forest green.