April 17, 2018 · 5:17 pm
A little while back, I decanted some silk stitching thread that had been steeping in dye for a year or two or three–using India Flint’s Stuff, Steep and Store preservation dyeing method.
- hibiscus flowers
- woad seeds (mature and immature)
- unidentified wattle seed pods from the tram line
- dried coreopsis flowers, citrus peel water
- avocado peel (fresh), bicarbonate of soda
- mock orange leaves (Murraya paniculata)
These jars have been sitting out in the rain and the sun, and I’m rather impressed by how well pencil on cardboard has lasted, never mention how the woad dyed wool, eucalyptus dyed yarn and handmade leaf string typing label to jar lasted. I have already begun applying thread to some of those little jobs that just need doing…
January 22, 2016 · 5:39 pm
Here in the wide brown land it is high summer and stone fruit is in season. Settle down, all you folk in midwinter on the far side of the planet! There has been an outbreak of illness and surgery in my extended family, and it was with regret that my father informed me that their blood plums would be ripening while my parents were away visiting and supporting those in need. I draw your attention to the basket, evidently made by either my grandma or my grandpa on Mum’s side.
My parents can really grow things. Fruit, flowers, vegetables, ferns, natives… these plums are enormous! They already had more than they could use, so I pulled out my Fowlers Vacola bottling outfit and set to work. I think I now understand that this is what folk in North America call canning. As a child, I was amazed to think people in the US had a way to put things in cans at home. North American supplies are now available here along with those from Italy and other parts of Europe. But this is what I grew up with. I now understand it was quite an Anglo-Australian thing. Friends with families from other parts of Europe sometimes used different processing and preservation methods and sometimes just used jars from anything consumed in their household to bottle fruit.
I love that food preserving is becoming hip at the moment–a bit–but when I was a child it was viewed as a necessity by my family, along with making jam. Now, this kind of equipment is readily available second hand and cheaply. For my parents it was a huge outlay and we had the smallest, most basic kit available. I scored the next model up (bigger but still basic) for a few dollars at a garage sale, something that could have saved my mother hours of what she clearly experienced as drudgery.
Well, this time she can have some glowing ruby jars of stewed plums without any drudgery at all, bless her. And while I was on the project I decided to clear the freezer out a bit and do a round of dye jars using India Flint’s Stuff, Steep and Store Method.
Hibiscus flowers, daylily flowers, hollyhocks, and clean, scoured avocado peel (fresh from lunch). Into the jars with pre-mordanted silk embroidery thread they went.
In the whole scheme of summer preservation, I also collected mizuna seed, woad seed and some ruby saltbush seed and set up to save them. There was such an abundance of woad seed, and purple dye is so amazing, I put up a jar of that too. I am looking forward to trying the agrimony seed that Wendi of the Treasure has sent when the time is right. And to opening these jars in the future!
April 19, 2015 · 6:32 pm
The colour affection shawl I knit a while back finally found the perfect home as a birthday present for a dear friend–here she is in her gloriousness, modelling it. With the Gleaners in the background for added wonderfulness. I am delighted that she likes the shawl. I can’t think of a better place for it to be than with her while she is working in her very demanding job (and perhaps even playing). Long may it warm and comfort her. Happy birthday!!
In more prosaic news, it’s the season for making string from our daylily leaves. When I strip off the leaves that have died, I make string from them. I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I’m not terribly good at it but I love it.
Comparing this string to that of earlier years, I can see I am improving! This is much finer, more even, and my technique is better. The twining (if that is the right word) is better executed.
I even made myself a little bracelet. I loved it… but it didn’t last forever, what with being washed and dried and rubbed over guitar strings. In one way, this is perfect. I have come to think that there are far too many things that last forever. The more of them I pull out the council’s mulch the more I respect all that withers and dies and becomes soil again. So perhaps I will make another of these and then another.
December 10, 2014 · 1:14 pm
I’ve been collecting for a while now… as flowers finish or petals fall.
After re-potting, the daylily had a bumper season, flowering for weeks. The maroon pelargonium also did well, and I picked up all the dead flowers as their petals fell.
My friends have hollyhocks, some almost black and some a little more pink and purple.
They’re patient or even encouraging when I collect spent blooms… and realise that they will end up being stuffed into jars for steeping and storing following India Flint’s method of preservation dyeing (more or less). This is my new favourite way to dye embroidery thread. I never thought I could be converted to embroidery, no matter how simple.
And, it is hibiscus season again. I went along for a ride to West Lakes for others to do open water swimming. The dog and I found an entire hedge of red hibiscus (we’re temporary dog aunties again), and I just happened to have a bag with me. I know–how fortuitous!
And here is the dye jar result of picking up all those spent flowers. Hollyhocks on the left, hibiscus on the right. The jars that have come to me as a result of Mum having a favourite brand of mayonnaise are all finding good uses despite being a bit too big for jam. these jars of summer’s glory will now sit and steep in all their jewel like colours for about a year.