Dyeing with Queen Anne’s Lace

by Cynthia

This month I have gone out with the kids and gathered so much Queen Anne’s lace for my dye pots. It seems to be EVERYWHERE this year. This year Gabriel was a huge fan in helping me gather the flowers. The flowers are obviously well loved by the ladybugs as we were finding them all over. Gabriel absolutely loved this! He would ever so gently pick them up and let them crawl up his arm (much to the horror of his sister- she is definitely not into bugs- of any kind even cute little ladybugs).

I thought I might share how I dye with this dainty little flower as well as a fun little experiment I did with the flowers for the kids (both young and old got into this one!)

For the little experiment I cut some Queen Anne’s lace flowers with long stems and placed them in two separate jars. One jar had water and blue food coloring in it the other had water and red food coloring. I’m sure you figured out where I am going with this. I placed the stems into the water and we let them sit for about three days.

By day three this is what we had:

The blue was more concentrated so I think that is why it took up the food coloring so much more than the red. It was a lot of fun for everyone. Ariella especially liked this. She would check on the flowers every morning and note where they were beginning to change color.

Now for the dye:

Dyeing with Queen Anne’s Lace

I use wool that I have applied alum to for the mordant.

For Queen Anne’s lace flowers I use equal parts flowers to yarn. So if you are dyeing 2 ounces of wool than you will want to collect 2 ounces of flowers.

On the day that I gather the flowers I add them to my dye pot and very slowly bring to a low simmer. I hold this gentle simmer for a good hour.

Once the hour is up I allow the dye to cool completely (typically overnight) and then I strain it well.

After straining I add my wet, premordanted wool and again slowly bring to a simmer. I keep the dye at a simmer for one hour. I then allow the yarn to cool completely in the dye pot.

Once the yarn is completely cool I rinse the yarn and allow to air dry.

The finished yarn:

Have fun collecting those “weeds”!

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