Trying out Stuff, Steep and Store

I mentioned a while back that I let out a squeak of glee when I got my copy of India Flint’s new book Stuff, Steep and Store… and it was only a matter of time before I’d try it out.


I’m trying out the following.  I can’t pretend to think they are especially well suited to this method but there it is… time will tell, as it always does!

  • Brown onion skins, aluminium foil, E Scoparia dyebath with vinegar (I hope I wrote some fibre or other on the label!!)
  • E Scoparia leaves, bark and dye, aluminium foil, silk thread, vinegar
  • Dyers’ chamomile flowers, aluminium foil, silk thread, water and seawater and finally
  • Red onion skins, silk thread, copper and vinegar water, seawater.

Entertainingly enough, while India Flint says she has been inspired in this dyeing process by years of food preserving (and that’s evident from the book)… After my first batch of dye jars I was inspired to pitch a round of food preserving to my beloved.  We put up a dozen or so jars of white peaches and yellow plums for later enjoyment.  I am not sure why this is called ‘canning’ in the US, but in Australia it’s usually called ‘bottling’ because it is done in glass jars.  I have a massive collection. I have been the receiving point for others’ Fowlers Vacola preserving kits for so long I now gift or share them with friends who are not so well endowed.  Perfect, really!

Since filling these jars I’ve been on a seaside holiday.  I set the blog to load scheduled posts while I was gone… and being lazy at the beach is the reason for slow responses to comments lately.  WordPress and my phone have an on-again-off-again relationship, which doesn’t help.  Since I was by the sea and pedalling around the neighbourhood, I collected seeds of hardy native plants for later propagation and planting in the abandoned waste parts of my own neighbourhood. Plantings on public land just call out for seed collection, don’t you think?


One plant, the seaberry saltbush (rhagodia spp, probably rhagodia candolleana), was in such profuse fruit that I collected enough to fill a small jar we had finished using.


I can confirm that rhagodia fruit ferments quickly in heat like we’ve had lately (41C today)… and began to do so before I managed to get it home and process my jar properly.  Ooops!  That really should not have been a surprise.  The fruits are smaller than a currant but very pretty…


Another experiment, since if anyone else has tried dyeing with this plant I don’t know about it and have only a foggy memory of the Victorian Handspinners reporting they got some colour from saltbush fruit (saltbush is a big family).  I happened to have embroidery thread with me… and into the jar it went with chocolate-bar-foil.  And now we wait.


To see how others are working with this process, visit the delectable ‘pantry’ India Flint has set up, or if you’re so inclined, have a look on facebook.


Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Natural dyeing

8 responses to “Trying out Stuff, Steep and Store

  1. It will be interesting to see the results …. how long is the store?


  2. But it’s so hard to wait! And now I’m off to buy a new book…


  3. Felicity

    I just had an ‘aha!’ moment about the aluminium foil …


Please feel free to join the conversation...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s