The flowers keep their scent well when dried to make pot pourri. Despite reading that the stems give blue colours, I have found meadowsweet plant dyes are unremarkable yellowish shades of beige, though they too, are tenacious, keeping their colour well. The stems snap easily and long stalks with their heavy flowerheads are often flopped over along the path after rain. I picked up a bunch of twelve stalks weighing 400g and decided to have another dyeing session. Materials comprised a small skein of wool mordanted with alum - boring, guess how that was likely to come out - and two more, mordanted in advance with iron and copper, same as I did with comfrey. The total weight of wool was about 100g, so this is the result of a four to one ratio of plant material to wool, the whole bunch, leaves, stems, flowers and all, being chopped up with secateurs, soaked overnight then simmered for an hour.
The dye bath was a cloudy orange, the alum mordanted wool came out beige, the iron mordanted wool a dark brown and the copper one was more greenish than my camera shows. That wool has sat on the side since mid June and still, the meadowsweet flowers are dazzling in the sunshine and falling over in the rain.
That dark brown wool is the best of the bunch, I reckon. Still trying to repeat the success of a previous geranium leaf contact dye print, I wondered if a meadowsweet dye bath might work in a similar way to the geranium petal one that went so black with iron. This time, I used a fine habotai silk scarf instead of chiffon, hoping the prints would come out more distinctly on the closer weave.
simmered for an hour and left overnight. Even the little iron on the string turned the whole dye bath dark, as well as the string and the visible silk. I gave it a day or so to dry out before the big reveal.
These are my best leaf prints so far.
My daughter is home again and was persuaded to humour me by modeling my latest scarf for the blog.
Now I would never have imagined that Elinor Gotland's nose might be put out of joint by this.
However, there have been signs that she intends to be acknowledged as the resident style queen.