Yellows from coreopsis flowers and osage orange

I have decided to branch out from the eucalyptus based palette of ochre–caramel–tan–orange–red–maroon I have been so focused on for the last while and plan toward an indigo vat.  Don’t you love these bold statements?

I still love the eucalypt colours: here, a small quantity of alpaca passing through various stages of preparation.  Picked, dyed locks;


Partially carded batt;


and, finally, yarn–pictured in the dyer’s chamomile patch.


I have decided to try for yellow–green–blue transitions, which will necessarily begin with yellow.  I had coreopsis flowers my mother saved me one summer, as she deadheaded her plants. This collection of flower heads speak to me of her love and her fine qualities as a gardener and a person who loves to share.  I had reservations about the colour I would get from them, as some had gone mouldy.  Her -plants are just so prolific–the stack of wilted heads had trapped enough moisture to create mould.


I also had a little remaining quantity of osage orange shavings of antiquity, gifted to me from the Guild.


I prepared them both for the dyebath, but have to say my tea ball was not a good enough receptacle to retain the osage orange.  I not only sieved the dye vat before adding wool (thank goodness I remembered to do this as I tackled it one night when the amount of sawdust in the vat was not as obvious as in the clear light of day) but also placed the whole tea ball in another fine cloth bag before running an exhaust bath.


Even after the first bath of each dye, there was a lot of colour left, so I ran an exhaust bath and dyed a total of about 800g of white corriedale.  I was especially impressed with the amount of colour and the wonderful smell of the coreopsis bath.  I need not have worried about the mould.  Here is the coreopsis bath between dyeings.


The resulting yellows are lovely.  On the left, coreopsis bath 1, then coreopsis bath 2, osage orange bath 1 and osage orange bath 2.  The coreopsis yellows are quite buttery and golden and the osage orange colours are a little more lemony.  And, there is further evidence that grass seeds and other vegetable matter take dyes quite well!  Now, to build up my courage for the indigo stage and some greens and blues.



Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Fibre preparation, Natural dyeing

10 responses to “Yellows from coreopsis flowers and osage orange

  1. SubmarineBells

    That’s a lovely range of golds you have there! It’d harmonise so beautifully with some of your ochre-orange-reds from the eucalyptus dyeing that I’m thinking it’s almost a shame to Go Green with it! 🙂 But then, green and blue are both fine colours too….


  2. What lovely shades of yellow!


  3. I love coreopsis flowers … I stick them in a box in the freezer till I need them 🙂


  4. lovely colours – coreopsis is one of my favourites in the dye garden. It looks pretty and you can get such a wonderful range of colours from them.


  5. do you know the particular coreopsis? I have a lot in my garden, but they aren’t such a strong golden yellow. The wool colors are amazing.


    • They are just regular single coreopsis–not dyer’s coreopsis… the flower is entirely yellow. In parts of Australia (but not my part) this flower is a weed. Maybe when they start flowering this year I should take a photo…?

      They look like this:

      and some are double, and look like this:


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