Natural Dyeing

Hopi Black Sunflower

Oct, 2021

I grew two of these beauties in my garden this year. Each had four or five heads and I harvested a small box full of seeds.

The first couple batches of dye were made with the fresh seeds. I'll be dyeing with them again next year to see how the dye works out with dried seeds.

The biggest concern about using dyes made with anthocyanin is that they are rarely light-fast. Some well-known natural dye books that are otherwise fairly complete won't even talk about these families of magenta dyes because they are so fickle. Carol Leigh has championed using poke berry as a reliable and color-fast source for anthocyanin based dyes. Encouraged by this, I decided to try experimenting with the Hopi Black Sunflower.

I also found the following blog posts from Wool Tribulations helpful. First test with nice results. Second test with some alkaline and copper experiments

Barkley Dye #1

This was an experiment with using a VERY acidic dye bath. Based on a paper by Barkley Seed Inc 

Hopi Dye #1

I fairly faithfully followed the well known recipe from the Hopi Dye book


After two months of hanging in my window, the yarns without an alum mordant are fading. Both dye recipes on mordanted yarn are holding up so far. Granted, it's been pretty cloudy and rainy since October, but still!

May 2023

Center pink and outside marron, still looking good after over a year

Dec 2021

Color fastness test: mini skeins were kept in dark, long pieces kept in the window for three months

Sept 2021

In the Dye Pot!