Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fourth dye attempt - daylily flowers

Daylily in bloom

Well, after a failed attempt at dying wool with our mulberries (which I thought would be foolproof, how can you FAIL to get a good color from mulberries?!?), I picked some (17) spent daylily flowers while walking around the yard and decided to see what I could get from them.

Daylily flowers used for dyebath

After soaking and them simmering them for 30 minutes, the dyebath color didn't look promising, but I figured I'd drop in a bit of wool and dye it anyway, to see what happened.

Daylily dyebath

The dyebath pH was as close to neutral as my red cabbage strips can measure:

Red cabbage pH strip of daylily dyebath

I added 5 grams of merino wool (pre-mordanted with alum/cream of tartar) and simmered for an hour. When I went back to check on it, there was a faint trace of a yellow-brown color, but it was hard to tell whether it was even on the wool. I didn't even bother to take a picture.

My weekend ended, and I headed back to work the next morning. Didn't get around to taking the wool out. Another day passed, and late in the evening I finally remembered to take that ugly wool out of the dyepot so I could start another plant... and wow, something changed!!

Wool after 2 days in daylily dyebath

I thought it would be a trick, like with my berry dyes, and all the color would wash right out, but the rinse water stayed completely clear - as far as I can tell, none of the color rinsed out at all, even with dishsoap!

Daylily-dyed wool

Finally, a color I'd be happy to reproduce. Next time I'll have to weigh the daylily flowers; I completely forgot to do that. And maybe I'll even try mulberries again before the season is over. They dye everyone's feet dark purple, how can I fail? But first I think I'll try walnut leaves, that should be even harder to mess up...