Eco dyeing in August: Black Eyed Susans, Coreopsis and Carrot Tops

The first few weeks of August bring clouds of yellow BlackEyed Susans to my garden. (Cooking in  the dye pot they smell like violets and the dye liquid is actually a light red-violet colour.) Yellow coreopsis tinctoria is also plentiful but there are no carrots in the garden so market stalls are my source for leafy green tops this month.  These and other plants like tagetes  have provided great dye colours for dye baths and eco prints.

This first collection of the month consists of silks pre-mordanted with alum, some modified with iron and copper at the end of the dyeing period.

August Collection 1

The greys on the top row in the image are the result of Black Eyed Susan dye modified with iron. The light green ( second from the left, top row) was from Black Eyed Susans. Fourth from the left is an eco bundle with tagetes; and the far right, top row shows corn-yellow dupion silk overdyed with carrot tops.

On the bottom row, the three yellowy-greens come from carrot tops. The darkest green is modified by copper liquor (copper pipes sections steeped in white vinegar, 5% acid), the medium value came from an hour simmering and an overnight soak; the lightest value is the result of an hour in an exhaust dye bath.  The orange-red prints with green prints (far right)  are from eco bundles of coreopsis (reds) and marigolds/tagetes (greens!)

Black Eyed Susans soaking in water in an aluminum dye pot.

Black Eyed Susans after simmering for an hour with a length of silk habotai (8mm) in the aluminum dye pot.  The fabric is sort of a grey pink colour at this stage. It changes to greens later.

Carrot tops in the dye pot give a chartreuse green on silk. Dye time and dye concentration affects the colour as does mordanting with alum and modifying with iron and copper liquor. The longer the white silk soaks the deeper the dye colour.  The exhaust dye bath  gave the lightest yellow.

Dupioni silk was corn- coloured going in to an over- dye bath of carrot tops; the resulting colour was a deeper golden yellow after one hours’s simmering and an overnight cool-down and soak. The dupioni silk appears (top row, far right)  in the August Collection 1 image above.