Sunday, August 19, 2012

Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) - flowers, stems, leaves

Queen Anne's Lace, also known as "Wild Carrot," "Bishop's Lace," or "Bird's Nest," is not native to the United States.  Since it's appearance in Colonial times, it is believed Queen Anne's Lace seed may have crossed the ocean in sacks of grain.  Although this wildflower is biennial, living only two years, it is a prolific seeder and becomes difficult to eradicate once it gets a foothold.

When young, the long, yellow root of this plant is similar in odor and taste to our domestic carrot, growing quickly woody with age.  However, this plant is sometimes confused with poison Hemlock, and should not be eaten unless absolutely sure of its identity.

These flowers were found growing along the roadside in southwestern Washington state.

I picked a few handfuls of these lace-y flowers,stuffing them into two small plastic bags.  Once home and in my dye pot, they only filled the pot about 1/8 full, and I was pretty sure that I didn't have enough to get much color, if any.  I filled the pot with cold water and let it sit overnight.

The next day, I brought the pot to a simmer and let it simmer for an hour before having to leave it.  When I returned home a few hours later, I brought it to a simmer again and let it simmer for another hour.  Then I strained the liquid off and immersed my wet, alum-mordanted yarn into the dye pot.  This simmered for two hours.  I had prepared myself to see only a very pale yellow  and was absolutely amazed at the depth of color when I pulled the yarn from the dye pot.

Alum mordant / left: 1st bath / right: 2nd bath 

Mordant Sample Card

Surprisingly, there is still alot of color left in the dye pot.

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