I am continuing my experiments with natural dyeing. My second big experiment was to simmer up 12oz of very fragrant Perovskia blossoms to dye 7oz of wool roving. I expected that even if the reported blue was unattainable, I should at least be able to achieve a lavender or pink. Consider that when the blossoms are dropped from the plant they maintain a dark purple even after being bleached by the sun for a month. I carefully simmered the plant material and the water turned a dark reddish color. I strained the plant material out through a pillowcase and returned the liquid to a simmer. I gingerly added the alum-mordanted wool, and simmered it gently for an hour. I carefully monitored the temperature. Nope - no blue. No lavender. Not even pink. Just paper-baggish brown. I even tried putting some of the fiber into a high pH afterbath, with no color change. I only managed to add an ammonia tinge to the pungent aroma pervading the house.
I hereby name this new color WBB, short for Why Bother Brown. Several folks have given very good suggestions on how I could alter the process and try again. I don't think my sinuses are ready for another go. There are so many other plants to try. And as Laura always says: I could overdye it.