My First Attempt at Solar Dyeing

I have been very intrigued by natural dyeing and recently purchased several books to get me started and I must say I’m very excited about this new fiberarts adventure.  

Natural Dyeing by Jackie Crook

The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes by Sasha Duerr

Craft of the Dyer by Karen Leigh Casselman

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar (Verb For Keeping Warm)

Natural Dyes by Julie Hardman and Sally Pinhey

A couple of weeks ago I took the plunge and tried solar dying with marigold flowers I collected.  I boiled the flowers first to help extract the color.  Next I mixed alum into the strained dye water and poured it into a large jar.

I then added my undyed BFL fiber into the jar. After about an hour in the warm Arizona sun, I started to notice the water was a lemon yellow.

I let the fiber soak up the warmth of the sun for two days and then drained the jar, gently removed the fiber and squeezed out the excess dye water.  I hung the fiber on a hang to dry in the sun, which took about four hours to completely dry.

The finished color ended up as a very light lemon yellow and I absolutely love it! I plan to put this fiber on my Ashford Blending Board to create rolags and I can’t wait to spin in up.  I am aiming for heavy fingering weight for a scarf or shawlette.

With this first attempt of solar dying, I now want to dye more fiber using natural sources and botanicals.  I really do think this will loads of fun and a wonderful next step in rounding off my love of the fiberarts.

Until next time, be creative!


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