goldenrod dye

This is the goldenrod that grows behind our neighbour’s garage, overhanging our driveway. I didn’t ask before I took it but I freed up a whole parking space by cutting it down.

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The yellow it yields is as intense as it’s flowers (wool roving with alum mordant):

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I’m not confident about its fastness on cotton but it looks good for now:

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a surprise in the dye pot

I didn’t even intend to make dye this time, but I can’t help myself. This week was time to trim down the leaves from our irises, and as they were cooking down in soda ash, a step in hand papermaking that separates organic matter from the cellulose fibres that form the paper, I noticed that the water had turned a beautiful strong green colour. A bell went off when I realized that soda ash is also used to set dyes. Once the cellulose pulp was drying on a screen, I strained the remaining liquor and threw in some cotton fabrics, some premordanted with aluminum acetate and some with soy milk, and this glorious spring green was the result.

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from the dye pot

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Cotton and cotton blend handkerchiefs dyed with turmeric, using a soy milk mordant. After I boiled up a handful of dried turmeric root pieces, which didn’t seem to let much of their colour out into the water, I put the softened bits and the water into the Vitamix and made a slurry. Except for staining the Vitamix jar yellow and getting gobs of root bits all over the fabric (hi I don’t strain things enough) the result is a pretty good gold.