Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus Carota) dye will give you lovely cream to yellow colors.
It is an edible plant, originally known as wild carrot. Other names that it is known by are Bishop’s Lace and Bird’s Nest.
The name comes from the beautiful white, lacy flowerheads that it produces in Spring. The edible part is the somewhat stringy root. The flowers however can also be made into a lovely tea or cocktail.
Care must be taken when identifying the plant, as it closely resembles Poison Hemlock (Conium Maculatum), Fools Parsley (Aethusa Cynapium), and also Water Hemlock (Cicuta Maculata).
Originating from Europe, Queen Anne’s Lace is a known weed which is often seen growing freely by the roadside or in fields. It’s seed is light and is easily carried on the wind.
The plant is bush-like and grows to a height of 4-5 feet, so you will need plenty of space in your garden if you intend to grow this plant for dyeing.
However, Queen Anne’s lace is a very easy plant to grow and has very few requirements. It can tolerate poor soils and dry conditions. As with most flowers, it does best when grown in full sun.
Creating Queen Anne’s Lace Dye
The flowerheads will give the best dye when brought to a low simmer slowly and not overheated.
Cover with water in a pot and simmer on low until the color of the dye vat reaches an intensity that satisfies you. Bright, sunny yellows are possible when dyeing with Queen Anne’s lace flower. As with all dye vats, cool the dye before adding wool – or other protein fibers – to avoid felting.
Professional Tip: pre-mordanting with alum and cream of tartar will ensure this dye is long lasting.
So there you have it. Whilst Queen Anne’s Lace may sound like one of the more esoteric materials to dye with, it’s really no harder than dyeing with any other flower – so if you happen to know where some of this stuff is growing, then dig on it and make the most of nature’s gift by making some absolutely wonderful natural dye!