Spring brings so many opportunities to gather materials for a bright spring palette of natural dyes.
On the Isle of Arran there is currently an abundance of daffodils: they are growing on the village greens, in the gardens, in the hedgerows (and even some on the beach!)
To sit among the daffodils and stare out to sea is a wonderful spring activity - it really doesn't get much better!
I have harvested some daffodil flowers to experiment with their dyeing properties. It seems important when dealing with delicate petals to heat them gently and allow the dye to be released slowly over a couple of days. Once the dye was released I removed the flowers from the dye bath and popped in some 'Blue Faced Leicester' fleece. No preparation of the raw fleece other than scouring it. I warmed it in the dye bath and allowed to cool. After a couple of days I had achieved a lovely pale lemon yellow colour: Spring yellow number 1!
Not quite as prolific but still a common sign of spring: crocuses in the gardens. I planted some crocus bulbs in my plot at the Whiting Bay Land Initiative back in December and was so pleased to see them bursting into life at the first sign of spring.
They are such delicate beautiful flowers I was hesitant to pick them so I waited until they were past their best and harvested them over a few days... I had a fair sized crop!
I used the same method to extract the dye from the flowers as I did with the daffodils, just gently warming them to release the colour. Again I popped in some 'Blue Faced Leicester' fleece and left it to soak over a few days. The result is a delicate creamy yellow fleece: Spring Yellow number 2!
As the weather warms, everything is starting to grow so I am looking forward to gathering some flowers and leaves to see what other colours Spring can produce.