Frozen flower dye

september16h Last year weeds happened to my orange cosmos (it always starts growing very late for some reason – then blooms into October where it’s too wet to collect seeds properly), this year slugs have overrun our entire property, so I had one plant. For that reason I had a handful of flowers in the freezer from last year and collected all summer from my one little very brave specimen to get enough for a reasonable amount of wool.

I’ve succesfully used frozen flowers of various kinds before, but always the same year. I noticed recently that some older frozen coreopsis (2 years, 3?) didn’t really perform well when heated, brownish weak dyebath rather than the brilliant garnet red that I’m used to.

So also with my cosmos. I had 200 g frozen and chose to add just a 120 g skein. It’s a very nice orange but not quite as brilliant as fresh flower dye or the ones that had been frozen just a couple of months – the bath was still dark afterwards but I’ve become a scrooge with my yarn and frankly was too tired that morning, so I chucked it. Another reason could of course be that I heated the latest bath more, but that doesn’t explain the poor quality of the coreopsis I mentioned since it definitely wasn’t boiled.

I really need a much larger quantity, and not years apart, to properly get to know these flowers and what I can do with them. pH, ratios, mordants etc. Sadly it appears to require that I lay aside all of my interests during the summer months to focus on gardening alone, quite the conundrum.

Now I wish I’d collected reeds for the freezer – I’ve decided I need a dullish lime green for the current collection I’m making!

At least now I know that I don’t have to clutter up the freezer for years with dyestuffs – use asap or dry the ones that can handle it. I have some old weld, leaves and dyer’s chamomile that have been stored a few years, that will be a later report on storage of dyestuffs.

On another note: I have a new space heater for my studio! It was getting to be just 10-12° C up there in the daytime, I can bundle up and move about, but my nose keeps dripping, and it’s just not super cozy that way, so I’ve been lingering in the office this past week.

11 thoughts on “Frozen flower dye

    1. Jeg kiggede lige i min bog, og det ser ud som om jeg har glemt at teste det! Andre siger, at det er lysægte, men jeg skal bestemt have en strimmel i sydvinduet til næste sommer.

  1. I planted a very small patch of Coreopsis Tinctoria this year, just to see what it would do. I have crap soil, and amending it to the point where anything but grass and spurge will grow is taking a very long time! There’s a house in my neighborhood that’s turned their front yard into a lovely wildflower garden, and I’m hoping to do the same eventually, so I’ll put the coreopsis there, along with flax, cosmos, maybe some rudbeckia 🙂

    1. If you want to dye, might as well put in some anthemis tinctoria too for good yellows. 🙂 It self seeds pretty well like the coreopsis – the cosmos not.

    1. I like it too, it’s a shame I only have one hank…

      Different yarn (even down to difference in sheep breeds!), different harvest time, different soil, different temperature, water, pH – I’m sure you can get closer to repeating a procedure exactly than I do when dyeing once in a blue moon, but it’s never a given.

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