Dyeing wool with marigolds and turmeric

I needed some yellow wool for my mushroom project. I looked through my wool stash that I usually use for spinning and did not find any yellow. I did find some mystery white wool that I figured I could dye. There was no identification with this and I don’t remember what it is.

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White mystery wool roving I found in my stash.

I thought about using Kool-Aid to dye it yellow but then I thought about trying to use flowers to dye it. I’m making this for my cousin who is into foraging so it seemed fitting to use an edible plant to color wool that I was using to make another needle felted edible plant.

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Yellow marigolds that are still blooming in my garden.

I had yellow marigolds still blooming in my garden. Marigolds are edible and can also be used to color/ dye things. I seem to remember reading somewhere that marigolds are called the poor mans saffron.

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I only had a few yellow marigold plants so these are all the flowers I could get.

Unfortunately most of my marigold plants were orange, so I had to make do with only a handful of yellow flowers.

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I just winged it and simmered them in water and some vinegar.

Since this was for a craft project I wasn’t so worried about color-fastness. I filled a saucepan with a couple of inches of water, added some vinegar and put the marigolds in. I just guessed with proportion of everything.

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After the flowers simmered for about 1/2 an hour. They turned translucent and look so pretty.

I simmered the flowers for approx 1/2 an hour. They started to turn the water yellow and the flowers became translucent and looked really pretty floating in the water.

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The wool soaking after I strained the flowers out. I added a dash of turmeric to make the color a little stronger.

I strained the flowers out and put the dye back in the sauce pan. You can see a little bit of sand that did not get strained out. Using a finer filter would have prevented this, but it wasn’t too bad. I simmered the wool for a few minutes and then left it to steep for about 1/2 an hour. I didn’t have time yesterday to let it go longer. Even if I had let it go longer I’m not sure it would have gotten darker. The marigolds made it a nice yellow, but it was a little a paler than I wanted. I added a small pinch of turmeric to try and get the color bolder. It worked great and made the color a much stronger yellow.

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Before and after.

I set the wool out to dry and the color is perfect for what I need it for.  I’m really happy with the results.

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