Carrot tops, ivy leaves, and Goldenrod

Note June 2016:  LOL!  Never took pictures of the Goldenrod dyeing and have yet to dye with the Ivy.  But, I am posting anyway!

Note on January 2013:  I know why this one sat in draft.  I never finished writing it. I think that this is the one that caused me to throw up my hands in despair and evoke McKayla disaproves. So this is take 2.

Tansy flowers, Goldenrod, Ivy

Tansy flowers, Goldenrod, Ivy

September 2012:  What do carrot tops, ivy leaves, and goldenrod have in common?  They can be used to dye fiber!  I’ve gotten my dyeing mojo going right now, and I’m talking about the slow, natural dyeing mojo.

I wound off six 4 oz. skeins of Harrisville Shetland weight yarn

The yarn.

and scoured them (that just means I washed them to get the spinning oils off, but it sounds so dramatic to say I scoured them).  They are now dry.

All washed and dryed.

Though I do intend to dye with the flowers and leaves in my garden, first I wanted to start with the carrots.  So, Friday afternoon I pulled the leafy green part off 4 bunches of fresh, organic carrots.

Carrots – don’t they look great!

I rinsed the leafy parts and put them into a pot of water to boil, then simmered them for about an hour.  I left it to cool in the pot.  Once it was cool, I strained the liquid and put it into an empty gallon water jug.  Alas, I took no pictures of the dye liquid, but it was a pale green.

I was originally going to dye 3 skeins, but reconsidered, and went with 4 skeins.  I had used about 12 ounces of carrot tops and 4 skeins would equal that in weight.  But first I needed to use mordant on two of the skeins.  See my intention was to dye two skeins without mordant and two that had been pre-mordanted with Alum. Once they were all dyed, I was going to take one of the un-mordanted skeins and one of the mordanted skeins and put them back in the dye bath, but this time with an after-mordant of Iron.

Here is the pot with the yarn in it dyeing (it’s already mordanted):

Yarn in the dyepot

Yarn in the dyepot

I think that once they had finished simmering, I let them cool in the dyepot.  I like to do that, to get the maximum color I can get out of the dye.  It’s is surprising to see that what were green carrot tops is showing as yellow in the pot.  That seems to be the way it is with plant materials.

As I mentioned earlier, two of those skeins later went into a pot with an iron mordant.  I don’t seem to have a picture of that.

After it was all done, here is what the skeins looked like:

Yarn colors from carrot tops

Yarn colors from carrot tops

Left to right:  Alum mordant, alum mordant followed by Iron mordant, no mordant, no mordant followed by Iron mordant.


About me

Fiber artist - knit, weave, and quilt. I am also getting back into garment sewing. I have started to dye my own yarn and I'm learning to spin.
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