Saint Mary’s herb and fermentation

For all the witches viewing this blog I will present today a spell that closes summer in wool. All you will need is free afternoon, basket of flowers, yarn, alum, water, fire and time. And joy of charming 馃槈


The essence of the mixture聽will be widespread and beautiful Canadian goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), growing usually where you would not put your picnic聽blanket – by聽ditches, roads, or on old overgrown parking lots.

I found on the internet and in my books various tips and rules about dyeing with聽goldenrod. Later however,聽when I analyzed the way I followed, it turned out I made so many errors I can聽say the recipe is聽mine. Strangely enough, it聽worked! 馃檪

Starting from the beginning: I collected the flowers on 22nd of August 聽when they were already in full bloom (first so-called error and there will be more!). I cut them approximately 30 cm from the top聽so in the dyeing pot there were flowers, stalks and some leaves altogether.

I firmly shook everything before pouring onto it water to save random bugs and bees and cut the plants into smaller pieces with pruning shears.聽This action is not aimed at anything other than efficient packing it聽in a pot. Then I boiled my rainwater, poured it onto my plants until it covered them聽entirely, covered the pot with a lid and left everything for the “right time to come”. Every day I looked under the lid and mixed it to aerate it. I could see then how nicely it all “worked”. On the second day of fermentation I could see a froth and multiple bubbles.

day zero
2聽days later

Prepared in this manner mixture waited for it’s big day till 30th of August, which was exactly 8 days later. At that time I could really easily smell the scent of fermenting flowers around the pot, so it is a great idea to keep it outdoors 馃檪

osiem dni p贸藕niej

Couple of days before the actual dyeing I also prepared the yarn I wanted to cast my colour spell on. I wound it into three 50 g skeins and pre mordanted it with alum (15 % of wool weight).聽Once cool, I wrapped still wet skeins in linen cloth and left it to ferment for 3 days.

small alum “fermentator” set

After this time, time came for the great final. And breaking the rules continued as at any stage of the dyeing I had never cooked the plant as many people recommend. Instead, the first thing I did after removing the lid聽was .. the removal of the plant and throwing it on the compost heap 馃檪

goldenrod taken out of the pot
essence of sun聽馃檪

I put my wool skeins (150 g in total) to cold sun essence and put it on live fire.


I cooked everything at temperature slighlty below 100 Celsius degrees and left everything in the pot overnight. When I took the wool out of the water the next day聽I was simply delighted! What a wonderful plant it is, that gives its colour so lovingly!


This is how the colour looks like when compared to greys:


I regret now I dyed only 150 grams back then. This casting spell is definately worth repeating!

8 thoughts on “Saint Mary’s herb and fermentation

  1. Cze艣膰!
    Pi臋kny kolor! Sk膮d pomys艂 na fermentacj臋?
    Czy w przypadku wygotowania 艣wie偶e/suszonej ro艣liny tak po prostu, w wodzie z a艂unem, nie uzyskamy podobnego wyniku?
    Jestem bardzo ciekawa!

    1. To fuzja tego co znalaz艂am w ksi膮偶ce Tuszy艅skiej (wzmiankowa艂a o fermentowaniu we艂ny z a艂unem) i na blogu farbiarskim gdzie fermentowany by艂 sam wywar naw艂ociowy. Z tego po艂膮czenia powsta艂o w艂a艣nie to, co tutaj jest 馃檪
      Nie pr贸bowa艂am jeszcze barwi膰 naw艂oci膮 na zasadzie “wrzuc臋 wszystko do gara” wi臋c nie wiem jakby mi wysz艂o.. ale je艣li pogooglujesz na pewno znajdziesz naw艂ociowe (nie fermentowane) osi膮gni臋cia innych os贸b. Trudno o por贸wnanie, bo dobrze by by艂o, gdyby 2 metody by艂y przeprowadzone “t膮 sam膮 r臋k膮”, ale jaka艣 pr贸ba por贸wnawcza mo偶e z tego wyj艣膰 馃檪

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