SOS To All Dyers

q8~The Amaranth plant (Amaranthus cruentus) is an absolutely beautiful, purplish-leaved, large plant. It’s seeds were the main grain staple for the Aztecs in Mexico. I thought I was buying a Compositae family plant , since it was a six-pack, which has purple leaves and orange flowers, turned out I was wrong. The amaranth is an old friend with purplish leaves and stems, when it flowers it produces a long cluster of small, purplish, flowers. Quite attractive. I mean, look at the gorgeous color in the leaves! Anyway…… While sorting through my fibers, I found a small bit of the first fiber I ever tried to spin – Dorset. Decided it was the perfect size to see what type of dye Amaranth makes.

Amaranth plants in garden

Amaranth plants in garden

After cutting plants up and boiling for a bit to remove color from both leaves and stems I had a rather beautiful shade of dark, rose-colored pink. (Note: quite a bit has now evaporated)

Beautiful color of dye

Beautiful color of dye

Used a vinegar mordant. Color was yuck. Tried an alum mordant. This is the result:

Salmon colored sample

Salmon colored sample

When dyed, the Dorset fiber became a not-the-prettiest-washed-out-salmon color. Why? What is with the reddish dyes I make? Where am I going wrong? After the horribly yucky color the Raspberries made, I’m ready to just stick with the tried and true yellows and greens. SOS to any dyer. How can I make a natural dye that actually turns the fiber a nice pink color. I’m sure asking for red is too much. How about using beets? Input is so totally appreciated.