Wild Color, but it seemed like a good starting point. There are a few things I learned about hibiscus in my initial research. I found that hibiscus is very sensitive to high heat and water quality so to get as much color as possible out of the flowers I filled the bowl with distilled water and let the dried flowers soak overnight before doing the actual extraction. I kept the temperature of the extraction at a simmer for just over an hour and then strained to separate the dye liquor from the flowers. The resulting dye liquor was so red it almost looked black.
To test the results of different dye methods, I mordanted half of the sample skeins as well as 200g of corriedale top in alum and cream of tarter (12% alum, 6% cream of tarter) and left the other sample skeins unmordanted. I simmered everything in the dyepot for an hour and then let everything cool in the dyepot overnight. Finally, I moved two of the mini skeins into a copper bath and another 2 skeins and the fiber into an iron bath to shift the colors.
In the end, I was really disappointed in the hibiscus. I ended up with pink and pinky browns, none of the lavenders or deep pinks I saw elsewhere. Also, there was no discernible color difference between the skeins that weren't mordanted and those that were which was also a disappointment. I still have some dye solution left so I am going to try a few more sample skeins in tap water to see if I can get different colors, I'll post more about that next week.
|Top row- no mordant, Bottom row- alum & cream of tartar mordant, Left to right- hibiscus, hibiscus with iron, hibiscus with copper. The corriedale fiber was dyed with hibiscus and iron.
And if you have leftover hibiscus, you can always make a batch of lavender lemonade or Jamaican sorrels.