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 said...

You're making me homesick!

I feel like you should be writing a how to book, "The Backyard Guide to Remidies & Natural Dyes"

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for our dye day! Or is it weekend? Am so geeked I am driving people crazy already. And for my next trick, flat bottomed bottles.

Kathy -MIQuilter said...

Deb, your so sweet! We were suppose to write the great natural dyeing book together. That darn Warren took you back to Alaska:)

Windi, looking forward to it too!

Anonymous said...

I love the colors created with this last dye....and the weaving is looking great with the blue wool and the bittersweet together. Very clever to include the things growing in your yard into the weaving....enjoying summer while we can! Deb C

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo