Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tea-time: Dyeing with Flowers from Our Dye Garden

If you have been with me for the past few months, you may remember this:

Adrienne and I planted this dye garden from seed (organic) this past Summer. I harvested flowers almost every day and filled the freezer with petals and stalks. Adrienne was taking a horticulture class at the local JC. For her final project, she decided to document the dye garden, starting from the planting of the seeds, and finishing with making tea from the flowers and dyeing wool.

Wool: Bluefaced Leicester
Qty: 2 oz per dye
Mordant: 12% Alum, 6% Cream of Tartar
Dye Qty: 2oz of dried/frozen material

First, we mordanted the wool with alum and cream of tartar for one hour. We let the wool sit in the mordant over night to cool. Then, we lightly rinsed the wool in a lukewarm bath.

We made teas out of each type of plant:

(this is making me feel like Ina Garten -- and want to speak in a hushed tone -- "come and look a little closer" -- and then the camera zooms in to see what she is cooking)
1. Edible Chrysanthemum

2. Correopsis

3. Cosmos

4. Dahlia

(this is the part in the show, where I find myself starving, and for a minute I actually think about cooking something real to eat, but instead, after exhausting myself thinking about all of the steps necessary to have such a dinner, I grab a bag of potato chips and sit back on the couch, and wish that someone else, such as Ina, could cook for me)

Round 2: For this round, we took plants growing around our house.

1. Birch

2. Chestnut Hulls

3. Eucalyptus

4. Ivy (leaves and berries)

We simmered the tea for about 1+hour. Until the dahlias lost their color, and the eucalyptus nearly asphyxiated us. Turned off the heat, allowed the tea to cool a bit.

Now, it was time for dyeing, my favorite part. We took a large canning pot, and 8 wide mouthed mason jars. Filled each jar 2/3 full with tea, and then dunked a 2oz piece of bfl wool. Placed the jar in the pot, loosely capped the jars, turned the heat onto med-low, and simmered the pot's contents for over an hour.

Our results:

From left to right: ivy, eucalyptus, dahlia, cosmos, correopsis, chrysanthemum, chestnut hulls, birch (when taking this photograph, I was having a momentary lapse of dyslexia). A lot of yellow, eh? I suppose it is amazing how many different shades and tones of a single color the human eye can see.

Next project: Over-dying with indigo. I will bring more green into my collection!


cpurl17 said...

Muted but very lovely!

Anonymous said...

What an array of lovely natural colors!

Nic said...

Did you have tea left over? How long does it last?

Anonymous said...

oh that is too awesome! i have to dig into my freezer as well and see what happens, i've got tons of similar flowers frozen away. thanks for all those pictures! i can't wait to see how your overdyeing goes, mine never seems to go that great.

Kristine said...

Hi Polly --
We do have tea left over.

Regarding how long the tea will last... that is still in question.

We sealed the tea in Mason Jars. That usually extends the life of the dye (such as cochineal). However, in this case, I am not sure how long the tea will last. Hopefully, next week, we will dye more fiber using the tea -- at that time I may have a better answer for you.

india flint said...

good to see witchcraft alive and well in other kitchens too...i have some similar interests!