As referenced in my last post, I found some sunflowers that have pink knobs on their stems brimming with dye. The only reference I’ve found to this color so far is here, where it says some native American tribes used developing parts of the sunflower to make purple dye. Purple, heck. This is hot pink. Barbie-box, Manic-Panic-made-my-hair-this-color pink!
First of all, I discovered the color leach when I trimmed the stems to go into a vase. Hands, countertop, etc all pink-ified. So I saved the stems, and recut them the next day, then poured the pink vase water into a pan and simmered them for a little while. I was hoping more color would come out once the stems were soft. Looking at a cross-section of the stems, the center is dead white and the color seems to be concentrated in a little ring around the edge. Xylem, perhaps? I let the stems soak in the water overnight, periodically heating it up.
I soaked some superwash merino from Louet in the warm dyebath, then microwaved it for a minute or ninety seconds whenever I passed through the kitchen.
Here, you can see the color development — from semi- to fully saturated. Also, at one point, I sprinkled on some citric acid crystals to see if it would make the color grab harder. It might have, hard to tell. (In the “use kitchen items unusually” department, I used True Lime crystals instead of proper made-for-dyeing citric acid, and then a salad spinner to spin out extra liquid before hanging the fiber to dry).
Here’s how it came out:
Impressive for just a few flower stems, eh? Sorry it took so long to get this posted, but I put the fiber up to dry right before leaving for San Francisco and had to wait to take the final photos. I’ll get my Maker Faire photos posted asap, it’s on the to-do list!
Also, there’s one spot left in Stitch Swap #2, if you’re interested. As soon as that spot is filled, I’ll be sending out the swap info.
And, if anyone knows what type of sunflowers these are, please let me know. I’d love to grow some for future dyeing experiments.