Alyogne Huegelii is a spectacular flowering shrub that is native to Western Australia. It is drought hardy but blooms profusely, and this very much explains its popularity in gardens here in Adelaide. There are a couple of these shrubs flowering spectacularly in my neighbourhood at the moment.
One of the things I really like about natural dyeing is the fact that you can enjoy flowers, gather them as they fall or pass their best, and have the joy of the flower as well as your dyepot. So I have been stopping by to collect fallen flowers from the footpath and the gutter, and pulling withered blooms that will not re-open.
I crammed the dried petals into my jar along with some vinegar, foil, water and a woolen sample card. For those who are not familiar, this is India Flint’s Stuff, Steep and Store process. I have no idea if these flowers will yield dye–they are from the same plant family as hibiscus (and hibiscus petal yield dye)–so they do seem promising–but they are free and readily available and there is nothing but time to be lost by trying them out. I might learn something!
After cooking, I had a deep purple dyebath in my jar. So I gave it a label, added it to my collection, and now we wait. It belatedly occurred to me to check my reference books. The Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria’s Dyemaking with Australian Flora (1974) reports that they achieved pink-fawn using cream of tartar as a mordant (I haven’t heard of cream of tartar being used without alum, so I have learned something already). They also achieved green and pale lemon with chrome, which I am not prepared to use. My sample card has alum-mordanted and rhubarb-leaf mordanted sample yarns, as well as an unmordanted sample–and the jar contains aluminium foil. Joyce Lloyd and India Flint’s books are silent on the matter. So–we’ll just have to see what happens.
I later decided on an alkaline jar, since hibiscus dyes are ph sensitive, and created another. It leaked green liquid when I heated it, but the jar as a whole doesn’t look green (yet).
Oh. And, we have moths.