The humble marigold, long used to brighten flower borders and as a companion plant in organic gardening also makes a beautiful and easy color that captures summer even when the weather is turning cooler. Marigold (Tagetes erecta) is native to Central America and was used as a flavoring ingredient for cacao by the Aztecs. It is important in both Aztec and Indian cultures; in Mexico, it is also referred to as “Flor de Muertos” (Flowers of the Dead) and used in the November 2 Dia de los Muertos festivals and ceremonies. The flower is believed to guide the spirits toward the elaborate altars decorated with sweets, mementos and remembrances of the dead. In India, marigold garlands are used for weddings and other auspicious events. Fresh garlands of marigold, jasmine and other flowers are used for temple offerings.
As a dye, marigolds produce a rich, bronze-gold shade that veers toward olive or deep moss shades with the addition of iron. They are very easy to use: simply add the dried marigolds to the dyepot and let the blossoms steep for a few minutes. Then add prepared yarn or fabric and watch the beautiful shade develop. If you prefer to keep the marigold bits from sticking to yarn, enclose the marigold flowers in a mesh bag that will contain the flower petals. The dye bath may be used multiple times for successively lighter shades and the spent flowers are compostable or perfect for eco-printing.
100 grams of marigold flowers will dye between 200-400 grams (7-14 ounces) of fibers. Sold in packages of 100 grams.