Natural Dyeing Yarn with Marigolds

Marigold Natural Dye Kit
Kits to dye yarn with organic dried marigolds.

If you are 100% new to the art of natural dyeing… or if you need a dye that will give you great color every single time, marigolds are the dyestuff you want. They are plentiful, forgiving, work just about as well dried as fresh, and give an amazing mustard yellow.

You probably recognize marigolds as the cheerful annuals available in the spring and early summer from every single garden store. There are several different types known by different names; African, French, Mexican and so forth, but as long as you are in the genus Tagetes you are good to go.  They are super easy to grow, and I like to plant them along borders, or even mixed in my veggie garden!

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So enough about growing, how do we dye? The dye procedure is similar to many flower-based extraction dyes, and I use alum mordanted yarn (don’t want to make your own? Click here for the kit!). Unlike other dye processes, once you have all your materials ready you can have a yellow skein of yarn in about 45 minutes. All of the following directions can be used for either fresh or dry blossoms. Use about 1/3 to 1/2 the weight of your yarn or fabric if using dried blossoms (purchase some here!) and about an equal amount of fresh blossoms to weight of fiber.

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Simmer flowers for about half an hour to extract a lovely deep gold color, then strain off the liquid. I like to compost the spent flowers!

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The wetted yarn or fiber is then simmered in the dye for 15 to 30 minutes. A longer simmer may produce a deeper color but it may be more dull. Keep the heat low – somewhere between steaming water and a simmer. You will notice that the dye bath becomes more clear (it won’t clear all the way though!) and the yarn will have a lovely gold tone when lifted from the bath.

I always allow my skeins of yarn to cool, then rinse in rainwater with a final rinse with a Eucalan soap or similar before hanging the skein to dry.

As with all natural dyes, different shades are achieved with different yarn types or modifiers such as iron dips. All naturally dyed yarn is also best stored out of the sun to retain its most vibrant color.

Interested in trying the process? Purchase organic dried marigolds! Want a complete kit including detailed directions and 50gm of mordanted worsted yarn? Click here!

Did you try dyeing with marigolds? Do you have some tips for me? I’d love to hear from you below, or come join me at www.knittyvet.etsy.com or the Facebook Group bit.ly/GardenYarn or at the KnittyVet Instagram to chat!

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Knitting Pattern: Garden Stroll Socks

Hey knitters – what about spring socks in fresh, lightweight yarn. Sound good to you? Free pattern sound even better??

Free sock knitting pattern.
Garden Stroll socks by KnittyVet in hand dyed botanical Marigold Sock Yarn.

Here is just such a pattern that I whipped up specifically for my sock weight Garden Yarn. Full disclusure: I’ve made 3 pairs of these anklets and I’m not going to stop anytime soon. So what are you waiting for? Grab your yarn and needles and cast on!

Garden Yarn colorways - Walnut, Marigold, Coneflower
Naturally dyed sock yarn with walnut, marigold, and coneflower

You can find the pattern on Ravelry, and several colors of yarn are still available for now.

Share your works in progress or happy feet wearing your new socks by using #GardenYarn or tagging me @knittyvet on Instagram! I’ll give you a shout out. 🙂

Free Easy Sock Knitting Pattern from Knittyvet.com

Glorious Green from Rudbeckia

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Hello all! While we are waiting for the KnittyVet Etsy shop to reopen on Tuesday Sept. 12 with the new yarn update, I thought I’d share my process for dyeing with Rudbeckia. Call them Black Eyed Susans, Coneflowers, Gloriosa Daisies, or whatever, many folks have asked me if these pretty yellow or orange flowers really make green yarn. The answer is yes, absolutely!

These flowers are a great native prairie species that bloom from mid to late summer and self seed if the flower heads are left to mature. My bed of Rudbeckia showed up after I planted some prairie flower mix… and I’m so glad they did.

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The dye procedure is similar to many flower-based extraction dyes, and I use alum mordanted yarn. It is a several day process though to extract maximum color!

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First I gather a good bucketful of blossoms and dump them in a dye pot. Next I pour over boiling water and let that sit overnight. The next day I boil for 1 or 2 hours, then let sit some more… either a few more hours or even overnight again. At this point we have a dark red/brown liquid that can be poured off from the spent blossoms.

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The wetted yarn or fiber is then simmered in the dye for 1 hour. I always allow my skeins to sit overnight to pick up the most color.

Different shades are acheived with different yarn types or modifiers such as copper or iron dips. I’ll have a few skeins for sale such as the one on the right above come Tuesday! Come join me at www.knittyvet.etsy.com or the Facebook Group bit.ly/GardenYarn or at the KnittyVet Instagram for more!

Garden Yarn by KnittyVet – Naturally hand-dyed skeins launching soon!

Hey all! I hope you’ve been having a stellar season – here in the Northern Hemisphere I’ve been making the most of a beautiful summer and dyeing lots of yarn with the plants and flowers from my garden. I’ve been sharing my progress online and due to popular demand have decided to offer a limited number of hand dyed skeins for sale! I’m still building up some inventory (everything comes from my garden or is locally foraged, so this takes a while!), but my naturally dyed yarns will be hitting the KnittyVet Etsy store soon. There will mostly be sock/shawl fingering weight yarns to start out, but I’m hoping to expand into other yarn weights and types.

 

For now – head over to the new Garden Yarn Facebook Group or join me on Instagram to stay in the loop. Once these yarns are available they won’t last long and each will be one of a kind! Those two group will be getting first dibs on all available colors.

Thanks for joining me in this creative journey. I really feel like I’ve found my niche!

-Kendra

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