Well here we go! Spring has sprung. Well kinda. Here in the Hudson Valley the temps are still way lower than what would normally feel "Springy". But- Spring is here, and the flowers are popping, the grass is growing, and the sun is shining.
Over the course of the season I am going to highlight some of the natural dye flowers that grow locally in my area as they come into season.
First up, the humble dandelion. I feel like it is an under appreciated, often overlooked, magical little flower. Dandelions are often thought of as nothing more than a bothersome yard weed. They are quickly mowed over at the first sign of their growth.
Before you do just that- consider using the humble little flowers for some of their brighter qualities.
Firstly, dandelions have been used medicinally for centuries. They provide so many health benefits when consumed. From their roots to their flowers, they are filled with antioxidants, can reduce inflammation, immune boost, and so much more. They are delicious in salads, and even make a great tea. But that's all for a different post.
Dandelions are also some of the very first flowers that bees seek out in early Spring for food, so consider leaving a patch just for them.
If you are looking for an early season natural dye forage that doesn't require too much effort, look no further than a the dandelions.
You can harvest and use both the heads and the leaves of the dandelion for natural dye. The heads tend to produce ranges of yellows, and with the addition of the leaves you will get more of a yellow-green.
Be sure to scour and mordant your fiber properly before dyeing as it is not the most colorfast/lightfast of the natural dyes.
To dye with, simply gather as many dandelions as you can. They are best when used fresh, so don't leave them sit for too long before use. Place them in a pot and cover with water. Gently simmer them for around an hour. Strain them off, and place in your fiber. Let simmer for another hour. Turn off the heat and let the fiber soak over night.
You can test the color as you go with small swatches of fabric.
It's really as simple as that.
How do you feel about dandelions, have you eaten them or dyed with them? Have a great recipe? Share with me below!