Prairie Coneflower Naturally Dyed Yarn

It's been nearly two months since I visited this field of gold, sunny prairie coneflowers.  It felt like the field of poppies in the Wizard of Oz... except... they weren't poppies.  And I didn't feel compelled to take a nap.  So maybe it wasn't anything like that, except for my overwhelming awe at the seemingly solid blanket of color.  After collecting a huge bouquet I started a solar dye jar that afternoon, as you may have read about here.  The dye stuff included seed heads and petals, with mordants of alum and vinegar.  One of the best parts about the solar dyeing process is watching the transformation take place, first of the water's hue and then of the yarn itself.  I half expected a yellow shade to develop, or at least a yellow-green.  Instead, after a week or two it became apparent that the dye stuff exuded more of a bluish-green, sagey tone.  Here is the result:
Faint, but lovely.  The gold splotches, I believe, came from dyestuff residue on the sides of the jar where the yarn was pressed up against it.  I may have been able to remove the yarn a couple of weeks earlier than I did, which could have prevented this.  It adds character though, which I am all about.  So... in case you ever thought about dyeing with coneflower, this is what you might get!  What should I make with it?

Dye Jar Progress

Since summer is now in full swing here in Central Oklahoma and we've been hitting heat indexes of over 100 degrees, my solar dyeing projects are coming along nicely.  The one on the far left, I started about three weeks ago using prairie coneflower bloom heads and petals.  The center one is osage orange extract, and the one on the right is bald cypress leaves.  These two on the right are for a big project I'm working on to show this fall.  All are mordanted with alum and vinegar.


As you'll notice at the bottom of the jar, after a day or two in the sun (or submerged, one or the other), the leaves start to lose their green hue and take on more of the copper color that you see in the fall.  I just removed the dye stuff from the top of the jar this morning and added some fresh leaves to get some additional pigment.  It seems to be coming out a bright yellow color.



While I would love to try dyeing with actual osage orange root, I had this extract and for the sake of getting some of these jars going I decided to go ahead and use it.  The shade is a beautiful, burnt orange.  Less red than the madder that I used last month.  It's going to add a lot of brightness to the project I'm using it for.


I've really loved watching the evolution of this jar.  After the first week in the sun, the water took on a deep purple hue.  When I started noticing the yarn taking on color, however, it looked more green.  Now, it almost looks like the coneflower heads have produced a blue-green color in the yarn.  I removed the dye stuff from the top of the jar and topped it off with water this morning.  It was a little cramped in there so the yarn was stuffed into the center... Hopefully this will allow it to spread out some and absorb more color in the center section.  This yarn has no project slated for it yet, so I will likely let it sit until the water looks clear and there is no more pigment to be absorbed.


On a side note, check out these stalks that one of my succulents is putting out!  I love watching these guys grow...


And finally, I'm happy to report that the bottom tier of the copper/moss tiered planter that I made last month is putting on new growth!  This dude will be cascading down the sides of the moss ball in no time!
I've got family visiting for the next few days (hello, three day weekend!) and am looking forward to some quality time and doing some fun things.  I hope you have a lovely weekend as well and I'll be back on Monday with a DIY!