this is not an advertisement of the tacky kind - sorry, didn't mean to mislead you:)) yesterday I finally started to fill my jars for solar dyeing. though the sun was a one-day wonder, today was grey and overcast from the word go.... (but still dry).
anyway, I heated a big pot of water with alum and started to layer things into the first jar. I had one big red dahlia head and some pelargonium flowers, also dyer's chamomile, light blue delphinium and a few fuchsia flowers. while filling all of that in, I suddenly remembered that I had a small bag of "black" violet flowers still in the freezer. I put them in, too and filled up with the water/alum mix. you can see in the upper two pix what I mean with instant release - the fresh flowers show no colour right after filling in the water, but there is already a bit of a purple "halo" around the frozen violet blooms! like India Flint wrote in her book: the plant cells are broken during freezing and release colour faster when used! (if you don't have her book, go and get it - it's brilliant for all kinds of dye ideas!).
the lower two pix show the jar about 2 hours after filling - apparently the dahlia flower is playing catch-up! it seems to me that this time I managed to buy a dahlia that dyes orange. after last year's failure with the dark red flowered one, which only dyed blah beige (and the loss of all but the dahlia merckii var. due to the harsh frost:((), I went for two varieties with red pompoms and it seems to have worked!
off to fill two more jars - when I came back from town, I picked some galium verum flowers, some knapweed, some equisetum and 3 large stalks of willowherb. no more teeswater top to play with, so I go and raid my stash for something else.... I checked, but the solidago isn't in flower yet!