Monday, August 8, 2011
I think I am going to jump ahead a little. I was going to talk about dyeing with simple things. Instead, I am going to show you my latest adventure of dyeing my first silk scarf with simple things. In one photo you will see the little 8"x54" white silk scarf after it had been bundled with Eucalyptus (euca) leaves, euca bark, willow leaves, yellow onion skins then boiled for 1 Hr. in a pokeberry dyebath. Right here let me say that the pokeberry plant (Phytolaca) is toxic. Birds eat the berries without ill effect because the tiny seeds containing the toxins pass right through. The rest of the plant is unusable. DO NOT cook the plant stems, leaves and especially the roots! Handle the berries with gloves, not because of the toxins, but because they will stain your hands dark purple. I put one gallon of water in an enameled kettle, and brought the water to a boil. I added the pokeberries and as they simmered, I mashed them against the walls of the kettle. I bundled the scarf with its contents around a wooden spoon and tied it with string. I then immersed the bundle in the kettle and weighted it down with a small glass jar that I had slid sideways into the kettle so the inside and outside would be the same temperature. When the kettle returned to the boil, I let it boil for one Hr., turned the burner off and let the bundle cool in the dyebath. About 5 hrs. later the dyebath was cool. I took the bundle out, opened it gently and hung it on the clothesline to dry. (to be continued).