Dyeing with Cow Parsley

Finally time to dust off the cobwebs of my blog and start writing again. My head and heart have fully been involved in taking care of my kids and generally surviving this strange year. The dyepots have been simmering on the background, but nothing has really been documented.

This year I’ve seen more cow parsley than ever before. A lot of the green areas near me have been left to grow wild and suddenly there are fields of white pom pom blooms everywhere. I’ve always taken it for granted growing up and remember my mum hating the mess the flowers made, when I picked them for her as a child. They also give me horrendeous hayfever, but I’ve never let that stop me from foraging.

Cow parsley – Anthriscus sylvestris
Bright yellow dye bath after simmering the flowers and stems for an hour

The colour is best if you gather the plant when the flowers are blooming. Be careful not to confuse it with hemlock which is poisonous . I dyed two skeins of yarn; 100 grams of Shetland premordanted with Alum and 50 grams of raw cotton premordanted with Aluminium acetate.

There was 500 grams of plant tops and stems, which I simmered for an hour before adding the fibres. I held these in 80 degree water for an hour before letting them cool until the next day.

Both skeins took the colour beautifully and I was happy with the gorgeous bright yellow.

Cow parsley dyed shetland wool (L) and raw cotton (R)

3 thoughts on “Dyeing with Cow Parsley

  1. I agree, beautiful yellows. Lovely to see your pictures and notes, thank you so much. It’s completely understandable you’ve dedicated your time to your children this last year and more.


  2. I have just found your amazing blog, your (and nature’s) eye for colour are astonishing. I love the new yarns you have for sale, and was wondering how you achieved the mottled effect you get with say Oak galls & cochineal. Susie


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