Fun with coreopsis


Last time I tried to grow these, I got a few spindly stalks with hardly anything on them. Which means, this year I totally underestimated how far apart I should plant and now I have a waist high jungle of thick, thick plants with hardly a size 5 footprint anywhere for me to reach the middle for picking flowers. I’ve taken to wearing my Fivefingers, to make the footprint smaller than a pair of Crocs (I apologize to those of you who are fashion conscious, but they DO work well for zipping in and out of the house all day).

I know they work really well frozen, so this year I’ll try drying some and see if that works, because it’s easier to store anywhere. Whereas steak and peas don’t survive for very long on a wardrobe shelf…


And I’ll have enough to conduct a series of tests, as I’ve heard a rumour they are pH sensitive. If you just want a regular yellow, you need less than half your yarnweight in flowers, or you can start with plenty and dye one skein at a time from orange over turmeric to sunny yellow until it exhausts. It also doesn’t need a lot of heat once the dye is extracted from the flowers, it’s excellent for solar dyeing and on silk.


So the plan would be:

  1. alkaline for reds
  2. acid for yellows
  3. test skeins in neutral
  4. amounts – work my way from strong dyebath to an exhausted one
  5. if the reds come out – test them with tin, to see if it gets even redder
  6. iron and copper possibly


You can get a lot of different yellows from the exhaust, depending on amount of yarn, plants, temperature, how long you let each skein remain in the bath etc. Here’s the 2011 batch with some cold dyed Japanese Indigo:

Japanese Indigo


Coreopsis tinctoria er rigtig god at lege med fordi man kan få så mange forskellige nuancer. Hvis man starter med et kraftigt farvebad og kommer 1 fed i af gangen, kan man få fra kraftig orange over gurkemeje-gylden til frisk solgul.

I år ville jeg så også lige teste påstande om at den er pH følsom, rød fra basisk farvebad og gul fra surt. Det blev en helt anden slags gul end ellers, og pga en fejl fra min side (manglende base) lavede jeg også lige en variant med kobber.

Der skal meget lidt blomst til, til alm gul behøver man mindre end halvdelen af garnvægten. Også flot på silke og god at solfarve med.

Det fungerer ogsÃ¥ rigtig godt at fryse blomsterne, men i Ã¥r vil jeg ogsÃ¥ forsøge at tørre, da det er lidt nemmere at opbevare. Bøf og ærter holder knap sÃ¥ godt i et garderobeskab. 😉


17 thoughts on “Fun with coreopsis

  1. Fantastiske farver !
    Jeg øver mig virkelig på gul og har efterhånden nogle nuancer jeg holder af.
    Har aldrig vist man kunne fryse blomster til farvning- smart- hvis man har en stor fryser 🙂

  2. beautiful colors. and you have me thinking. I have solar dyed with hollyhocks and hibiscus. but it never occurred to me to simmer the blossoms and then transfer to a jar and let the sun do its work. I am going to do this the next time I am at the cabin

  3. So many beautiful flowers and such gorgeous yellows. I planted some coreopsis in my new dye garden this year and not a single plant grew. But I have chocolate cosmos so I shall be experimenting with that to see if it works!

    1. The first ones I had which didn’t grow, were sown directly, this year I cultivated them indoors in the contraption we made for the window and I think all the seeds germinated! I’d love to see what you get with cosmos.

    1. Well, some are more tedious than others, but they’re not as fun to show off. I think if I have the energy I’ll try to make some watercolour washes on paper with these. Just to use for backgrounds to start with, to see how it holds up.

  4. SÃ¥ flotte farver. Du er godt nok god til at eksperimentere. Hvor fÃ¥r du egentlig alt det garn fra? Er det hjemmespundet eller …

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