Calendula of the family Asteraceae - This is related to the Marigold plant. Dyes Bright Yellow to Khaki Greens. Use 100% ground flower heads per WOF. Use alum mordant at 15% WOF for protein fibres. Mordant with tannin at 8% WOF and then alum at 15% for cellulose fibres. Cover flowers in hot water and leave it to soak overnight in a warm place. Remove the flowers from the water and dry - these can be stored and used again. Transfer the Calendula into a dye pot, add fibre and bring to a simmer for 2 hours. Remove the fibre and rinse well. Its normal for some dye to wash out.If you use an iron pot it will alter the colour expected.
Before 1856, Natural dyes were used in time honoured techniques (as far back as 1500BC) but once synthetic dyes were invented in 1856, textile dyers and artisans moved from traditional natural dyes to synthetic dyes to colour their cloth and fibre.
They will dye any natural fibre using a handful of non-toxic mordants and additives to help fix the dye and also give you more colour variations. Natural dyeing is very much about reconnecting with the past - apart from using the plant materials you have at hand in your own garden, there are a number of traditional Natural Dyes and extracts including Indigo, Madder, Cochineal and Fustic.
By combining different dyes, mordants and depths of shade, you will produce an amazing palette of deep to subtle pastel colours. We hope you enjoy your Natural Dyeing adventure!