Natural Dyeing: Queen Anne’s Lace

I got a nice pale yellow on my homespun wool with Queen Anne’s Lace. Also known as wild carrot, this grows wild all over the northwest. Credit goes to Jenny Dean and her book Wild Color.
Have I mentioned yet how AMAZING this book is? My mom got it for me for my birthday and I’ve just been devouring it. It provides clear and lovely instructions for dyeing with all kinds of flowers and trees and weeds and such, most of which are easily harvestable from the wild around here.
One thing that happens in the summer is that my free bus pass goes away since I am no longer a student. Another thing that happens is that I walk everywhere because I don’t want to spend a dollar on the bus. Lately, I’ve been doing the lovely hour long walk downtown almost daily, and it’s been nice to get a little more physical activity into my routine. Frequent nature walks, combined with knowledge from Wild Color has helped me begin to spot dye stuff everywhere I go!
This is where I first noticed the abundance of Queen Anne’s Lace. It’s everywhere under the 5th avenue bridge and all the way along the railroad track and beach trail that goes to the west side. One day on my walk, I brought along scissors and a bag and went crazy.
Following the recommendations in Wild Color, I used alum mordant and a hot dyeing method, boiling the plant matter for at least half an hour, and simmering the yarn with it for another 45 minutes. I would recommend putting the dyestuff or yarn in some kind of mesh bag or cheesecloth or something, because plant chunks got all up in my yarn.
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2 comments

  1. Wow, I love this. Just something worth sharing is to exercise some carefulness with ID, this family has quite a few look alikes, such as poison hemlock is known be grow in disturbed areas like this like crazy and looks very similar, look for the red stripes on stem, the red dot in the center of Queen Anne's Lace, or wild carrot, is a good ID though, like in the second photo. Just offering this because I had to research the family for a plant terminology class presentation

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