Sunday, August 4, 2013

Good Friends and Chicory (Part 1)

A few days ago I was feeling a bit discouraged about my lack of mobility and didn't know what I wanted to do for the afternoon when there was a knock at my door.  It was two of my young friends from fiber camp and their mom.  M brought me a bouquet  from her garden and her brother J brought me a big bag of chicory.
Here is what one chicory plant looks like that is growing near the fiber shed.  Mostly though, you see it growing all along the roadside.  A few weeks ago, I asked a couple of my young friends if they could pick some chicory for me, if they had time, because I wanted to dye some wool with the leaves.

It is reported in some old books, that the leaves of chicory make a beautiful blue dye, the color of the flower, and the flowers make a green dye.  Others say that they have not gotten a blue dye from the leaves.  The chicory plant has basal leaves that are large and lobed and stem leaves that are quite small and linear.  The basal leaves seem to have more pigment in the veins.

I think that chicory is technically a biannual not a perennial, which would explain the rosettes that were mixed in with the tall plants.  What I think are rosettes, are in the basket below.  I separated them to see if they would produce a different color.  

I decided to try the flowers too but they don't last long so I don't know how that will work out.

The thing with dyeing with plant material is, that time of season, plant maturity, location, and other things affect the color so it shall be interesting.  I have been soaking all for a couple of days.  Maybe I will have an opportunity to make a dye bath tomorrow.

Stay tuned for part 2


  1. I would love to hear an update on Chicory Part 2!! I just collected some to do some dyeing myself! I will try and take some pictures along the way! iw ould love to know how your colors turned out! And, most importantly, if you were able to get blue!!!

  2. Chicory is the valuable herb which for a long time has won popularity in national medicine.Chicory was also often prescribed by herbalists of recent centuries to cure a whole host of ailments; the herbalist of the middle ages often recommended herbal remedies made from the chicory roots as tonics, as laxatives, and as diuretics.