Yellow chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria) Gele kamille, (NL)
Dyes: Bright yellow-olive green
From southern Europe, various species of chamomile, including the yellow chamomile, have over the centuries spread to all countries in Europe.
The yellow flower heads are used to extract quercetin. This ingredient produces bright yellow to olive green colours.
Yellow chamomile is also known as dye chamomile, which can be seen from the suffix ‘tinctoria’ meaning ‘used as dye’.
You can also grow the plants yourself in a sunny, dry and stony spot. When they are in full bloom in summer, you can harvest them and let them dry.
The yellow chamomile…
… is a strong butterfly attractor
… smells less strong than the common chamomile
… is also called a plant doctor because it seems to make all plants in its surroundings better.
… is a winter hardy plant
… is related to the wild chamomile (Matricaria recutita), with which you can also paint.
This is one of the natural dye products described in the book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik.
Basic recipe for 100 grams of wool, silk or cotton to dye yellow
– 100 grams of yellow chamomile
– 15 grams of alum
– 2 grams of tartaric acid
– 1 cup of vinegar
– (electric) cooker
– 2 old (cast iron) pans
– apron, gloves
– (glass) pots, buckets or containers
– 2 cups household soda crystals (if you are going to dye cotton)
Step 1: Wash (only if you are dyeing cotton, skip step 1 if you are going to dye wool or silk)
Fill a bucket with plenty of water and 2 cups of household soda and leave your cotton there for 24 hours. Rinse well the next day.
Step 2: Mordanting
Dissolve the alum and tartaric acid in a jar with hot water. Put 3-5 litres of water in a pan and add the mixture of alum and tartaric acid. Soak the wool, silk or cotton in a bucket of water and when completely soaked, add them to the mordant pan. Bring the temperature to 80 degrees (not hotter). Let this simmer for over an hour. Then let the fibres cool slowly in the mordant bath. You can leave this overnight or get started right away.
Step 3: Dyeing
Put the chamomile in a cheesecloth bag and place it in your dye pot with 3-5 litres of water.
Bring the dye bath to boiling point and let it simmer for an hour.
Lower the temperature to 30 degrees and add the wool, silk or cotton. (Tip to speed up this process: put your pan in the sink with cold water)
You can leave the chamomile in the cheesecloth bag in the dye bath during the dyeing process. Make sure that the fibres can ‘swim’. Raise the temperature up to 80 degrees and leave to simmer for an hour.
Let the dye bath cool down slowly.
1) For better results, soak the chamomile in water for 24-48 hours before starting step 3. Then pour the decoction through a cheesecloth bag into the dye bath and top up with enough water.
2) After cooling, leave the fibres in the dye bath overnight.
Step 4: Fixation
Rinse the fibres and leave them for an hour in a bucket of water with 1 cup of vinegar. Rinse well again and hang to dry.