gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

Yellow is one of my favorite colors, so when I found out that a flower called weld yields the brightest and fastest yellows when dyeing fibers, I had to give it a try. Weld (Reseda luteola) is also known as “dyer’s rocket,” which tells us that it’s been used for this purpose for a long time. Unfortunately, there are no meadows of weld around where I live — or if there are, I wasn’t around this past summer to pick them — but when in need of dyeing materials, a girl can always rely on the wonderful Aurora Silk in Portland, OR. The package of dried weld blossoms came in the mail last week, and so I pulled out my dyeing pots and I pulled up my sleeves.

Since water here in South Carolina is very soft, I needed to add some powdered chalk to the dye bath. Thankfully, I teach for a living, so chalk is plentiful in my life! I used one of those ball-shaped tea filters to grate it finely.weld-3The results blew me away: this truly is the brightest, cleanest yellow. I also experimented with an iron mordant afterbath, which turns the yellow green — something between neon green and moss green, if you can imagine that. The combination is at once summery and evocative of fall leaves. weldweld-2Now the only question that remains is — what shall I knit out of these? Any suggestions?

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