Goldenrod - Natural Dye - Wool Yarn




Introduction: Goldenrod - Natural Dye - Wool Yarn

This beautiful wildflower creates an incredibly bright and wash-fast yellow.
It is very easy to dye with these beautiful flowers and they yield a gorgeous green when overdyed with indigo...

but that's a whole other story... to follow in another instructable!

A few notes before you go further...
As a rule of thumb, use a 1:1 ratio of fresh flowers to weight of fiber (i.e.: 100g of flowers to 100g of wool )
You can always use more or less, it will simply affect the intensity/shade of color. I suggest you experiment and explore with various quantities to figure out what you like the best!

Alum is generally used at about a 15% concentration. (i.e.: 15g of Alum to every 100g of wool)

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Tools and equipments

  • Stainless steel pot (or unchiped enamel pot) NO aluminium as this may affect the color.
  • Dishwashing gloves (it's good if they are thick as the water will be hot)
  • Wooden stick/spoon (or anything you can stir with)
  • Strainer. It can be cheese cloth, a paint mesh (this is what I use), etc.
  • Plastic or glass container to strain dye liquid

PH test strips (To test the water PH )


Goldenrod flowers
Pre-mordanted wool yarn ( check How to Mordant protein fibers )

Step 2: Extracting the Dye

I find a 1:1 ratio of Goldenrog flowers to water works well.

(If you found PH strips, now is a good time to test the water!)

  • Put Goldenrod Flowers into you stainless steel pot.
  • Pour enough water to generously cover the flower
  • Turn on your stove to medium and bring to a gentle simmer, making sure it doesn't boil.
  • If it starts to be very low on water (too much water evaporated), just add a little bit of water.
  • After 1 hour, turn off the stove and let cool down for a while.
  • Strain the dye liquid usig your mesh/net. Squeeze as much as you can to get all the precious dye liquor...

You are now ready for a wonderful dye bath !

Step 3: Dyeing ( Finally! )

You will have a dark amber liquid... this is your lovely yellow in perspective!

  • You will find out that the color evolves very much the dyeing process...
    At first, the color is very light brown, and after a little while of sitting in the dye pot, you'll get an amazing yellow!
  • Your yarn needs to be wet, so make sure you let it soak in water for minimum of 1 hour prior to dyeing.
  • Pour the dye liquid in the dye pot. With your gloves on, put your yarn in the dye pot. Add enough lukewarm water to cover the yarn and so it can move freely. Gently squeeze the yarn to fully soak it with dye liquid.
  • Turn on the heat to medium, bring to a gentle simmer and hold this for about 1 hour, stirring every once in a while to assure even coloration of the yarn. (Go gently while stirring, as heat + agitation = felting)
  • Let the whole thing cool down before taking out the yarns. If you are patient enough, I recommend leaving the yarn in the dye pot overnight.
  • Without any rinsing, let the skeins air-dry out of direct sunlight. This help better color fixation.

Step 4: Rinsing

The next day, rinse the yarn in lukewarm water.

To do this, do repetitive soaks in clean water until the water runs clears.

Let air-dry out of direct sunlight. Enjoy the brightness...!

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    Question 3 years ago on Step 4

    I accidentally let it boil! Is it ruined?


    Question 3 years ago on Introduction

    Is there an alternative way to preserve the dying liquid besides freezing it? Can it be preserved in a canning jar in a water bath?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hello! I am getting up my nerve to dye some yarn this fall. Thanks for this clear, simple tutorial...I'm eagerly awaiting the post about overdyeing yarn in indigo!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks :)

    My goal is to make it as simple as possible. When I first started dyeing, I felt like it was a ''secret world'' I couldn't enter, it all seemed so complicated and all the terms used were hard to understand for a neophyte... I am happy you find it helpful! And if you have any questions I will be very happy to help you. (and the indigo will be soon!!!)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I agree, there is so much out there, especially with protein fibers with all of the mordants and such! One book suggests that I make 20 swatches of the same yarn to dye with ONE dyestuff but different mordants and modifiers! Huh? This takes me back to chem lab days, but those were 40 yrs ago. Think I'll start out with a much reduced set of variables :)
    Thanks for your reply, I look forward to your "indigo" post,


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I know the book! And I should say that it can be a very resourceful book though. I just think they should mention : with people already familiar... haha . I respect deeply all the work that went into these books, and the author surely knows more than I do. But my approach in general is : let's make it easy to reach for every single person. And then, once you get into it, you can go deeper and/or develop your knowledge in the way you see fit ;)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    thanks for the encouragement! We are enjoying a fall-like drizzly Labor Day weekend here in Portland OR. Hope yours is enjoyable too :)