The past few months I have really been loving our local library. Not only is it beautiful, with whole walls full of windows and perfectly positioned armchairs and self-check out, it is full of the most amazing knitting/weaving/crochet/craft books you could think of. It has been a source of much inspiration, especially following my somewhat failed dyeing experiment.
One of my favorite books that I have read is Harvesting Color by Rebecca Burgess. I love it because it not only has simple-to-execute recipes and gorgeous pictures, but it gives great references and maps of where to go to harvest the materials included in the book. A lot of them were based out of California and the west, where the author lives, but quite a few were spread over the east coast up to Vermont and down through Florida. Success!
In late September around here driving through country roads I kept seeing fields and fields of goldenrod. They showed up for about two weeks, and last weekend when we got buckets of rain across the state thanks to Joaquin, they just as quickly made their exit. Luckily, in that window I had some free time to go and cut a large pile of these lovely fronds from the farm, and that evening, we dyed!
The night before I dyed, I soaked these two sad non-mushroom skeins in water and mordanted in alum. I boiled the goldenrod for about an hour in my dye pot, extracted all of the plant material, re-wet the yarn in warm water and let the yarn sit in the dye pot for another hour at around 180 degrees. It was raining that night, so when I took it out of the pot I just let it sit on my porch for an hour to rinse. :)
I could tell within 10 minutes of the yarn sitting in the dye that it was going to take, which was so exciting. And in addition to the most vibrant yellow it has lovely undertones of green as well.
I have a few powdered natural dyes that I've purchased, but the thought of going out into the neighborhood that I live and work in, collecting these natural materials and extracting their beauty for yarn was such a cool feeling. I see many more experiments in my future.