Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Fun

The plants are calling me, it's dyeing time.
I laid out a length of raw silk, wool and a piece of cotton, picked leaves off my purple basil plant, laid them on the fabrics, rolled them up tightly, and steamed them for a couple hours.

I also did them same with red blanket flowers in cotton.

Rolled up in my steamer.

Lid on very tightly, steamed on my antique stove. Left them overnight before opening the pot.

The next day, this is the purple basil dyed fabrics. From left to right wool, silk and cotton.
They say purple basil is a wonderful plant to dye with, it will stick to the inside of the pot, the stir stick but not to the fabric. I solved that by rolling it up into the fabric.
These fabrics have been washed.

The cotton fabric from the blanket flowers.
I love dyeing wool fabric but I'm challenging myself to also use cotton fabric this year. It's a bit more difficult to grab the dye.

Quilt bee last night, a picnic on a deck overlooking Lake Michigan.
Joni with her fun patriotic table runner.

Cathy O. with her beautiful finished quilt.

My Herb Society meeting Tuesday night was held at this restored Dr.'s office from the early 1900's.

A new medicinal herb garden has been planted.

And my favorite part Dr. Hobson's vegetable prescription for "Diseases and Weaknesses of women". For Irregular and Painful Menstruation, Excessive and Scanty Menstrual Flow. Etc.
Price $1.00
And when the Dr. died in his wife (who was not a Dr.) took over his practice!

Off we went to another herb garden and picnic, this was their fence out back, with wine corks along the top!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

St. John's wort

St. John's Wort is in full bloom and ready for making oils/salves and dyeing fabrics.
It takes a lot of blossoms and buds to make a dye bath and to make a healing oil/salve. I find mine along the country roads and fields. I never pull them up from the root, instead I cut the tops leaving some behind for the bees and reseeding.
St. John's Wort is sold the world over as a supplement for anxiety and depression issues, and many, many people use it.
St. John's Wort oil/salve is wonderful for healing skin, such as sun burn, bug bites, skin rashes and irritations.

Up close you can see the dye/essential oil in the tiny black dots along the edge of the flower petals.
There are two types of St. John's Wort, if yours doesn't have the black dots it's the wrong kind for these projects.

After pulling off all the petals and buds I put them in a jar filled with grape seed oil. Olive oil is wonderful to use but I don't care for the smell and grape seed oil is lighter.

I put it in a crock pot on low for at least 24 hours. In the bottom of the crock pot is a folded dish cloth the jar is setting on and water up to the top of the crock pot, like a double boiler.
After simmering, strain out the plant matter, I use double cheese cloth, sometime twice. If you want it thicken (like a salve) add a little melted bees wax after straining. Pour in a glass jar and use when needed. I keep mine until next year when I make a new batch.

Another pot full of blossoms and buds for my wool fabric.
I simmered the flowers in water for about an hour or so.

First I add a piece of alum mordanted wool and simmer it until it turns green. Next, I add a piece of unmordanted wool, simmer a long time until it turns a rosy tan brown. Add another piece in and it picks up the last of the dye in gold tones.
What a great plant, very medicinal and dye plant. It does it all!

When I was out picking the flowers, the sun was shinning through these horse tail plants making them glow lime green.

I did do a little bit of weaving on the Fourth of July, weaving several rows of bittersweet and a couple rows of indigo blue. My arms were so tired after "coaxing" the bittersweet through!  

I wanted to share with you these glass bottles,
my friend who taught herself how to make glass beads with a torch has now taught herself to make delicate glass bottles to hang on a necklace.
Beautiful, Windi.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo