Natural dyeing

Dyeing with Plants: Dyer’s Chamomile

Today I dyed 50g of Regia for Hand-Dye 4ply yarn with the flowers from some dyer’s chamomile (anthemis tinctoria) from the bottom of my garden.

The books said use at least an equal weight of the flower-heads to the yarn, but to get the best possible chance of a stronger colour I used more than 4 times as much – 215 grams of fresh flower heads for 50g of yarn. I’d mordanted the yarn overnight, so all I had to this morning was boil the flower heads for an hour, then add the yarn and leave it to simmer for another hour. Here it is cooling in its dye-bath.

After an overnight soak in the dyebath my pretty skein of yarn dyed with dyer’s chamomile spent yesterday drying, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the depth of colour! A deep, warm, golden yellow.

There was so much colour left in the water I could easily have dropped in more yarn for a second, paler, skein but I didn’t have any pre-mordanted ready to use. But I did have a piece of fine silk big enough for a scarf, so I scrunched that up and tied string round it for a gentle tie-dye effect, and popped it in to simmer gently for 45 mins. To get a more intense depth of colour on the fabric I added a smidge of copper sulphate to the dyebath for another 15 mins. The result is soooo pretty!