More Beautiful Yellows

Here are the latest results from my dye jars* –

yellow dye samples

From left to right – dog fennel, waterleaf, and parsley hawthorn.

Jenny Dean mentions hawthorn in her book Wild Color.  She recommends using the flowers or berries, and says the leaves and twigs will dull the color, but I used leaves and twigs, and got a gorgeous marigold yellow.  The species I used was parsley hawthorn, Crataegus marshallii. This sample sat in the solar jar for 48 hours.

parsley hawthorn

Parsley Hawthorn and dye sample.

Up until this time, I had been trying only the plants in Wild Color, but I wanted to see if some of our other plants would render color.

Waterleaf (Hydrolea) is a plant that grows all around the edges of the pond.  It has lovely little blue flowers, but it also has tiny but vicious thorns.  It did wonders in the dye jar, and gave a clear yellow-green.


Waterleaf and dye sample.

Dog fennel ( I believe it is Eupatorium capillifolium, but I am not absolutely sure of this one) is a tall feathery plant – it reminds me of Queen Anne’s lace without the flowers.  It is soft and thornless, which is a plus when handling it for dyeing.  It gave a pure yellow.

dog fennel

Dog fennel and dye sample. Dog fennel is one of those common names that is used for very different plants around the country.

Now that I know what these plants can do, I am going to test them further with dye modifiers, wash and light tests.

* My method for sampling for dye – I lightly pack a half-gallon glass jar full of my plant material, pour very hot or even boiling water over it, enough to almost cover, plunk in a 10 gram skein of alum-mordanted wool, and wait 24 hours or so.  I like to use canning jars because they are made to withstand some temperature change.  My jars are outside in Texas, so they are already pretty warm when I pour in the hot water, but I am still very careful to avoid shattered jars.