Friday, April 15, 2011

Oxalis (sour grass) as a natural dye

Yesterday, my daughter was inspired by our small terra cotta fire pit. How can we use this as an outdoor stove to dye some wool? We thought about it and tried some of our ideas that involved ways to set the pot on it without trapping too much smoke. My idea to take the burner rack off the grill and set it on top of the chimney worked perfectly.
The substance she wanted to try was oxalis which is prolific in our yard in the spring and the fall. Should we do just the leaves or just the flowers? Let's do both. Let's do an equal ratio of dye stuff to wool. Here it is in the pot on top of the chimney. After 30 minutes, there was a fantastic yellow brew!
The wood brought the water temperature up quite quickly and it stayed at 185 for 30 minutes. We had to only once pull out a log to let the heat come down a bit.

She had a meeting to go to so we decided to let the whole thing sit there until she came home which was about 3 hours later. It did not seem to darken up much over that extra long time in the brew.

One thing- I did call my neighbor who lives across the street and can see into my back yard. She is also an artist so when things a bit out of the ordinary happen, I let her know so that she doesn't panic or so she can come over and watch. Last week she called the fire department because flames were leaping from behind my hedge and it didn't seem like I was home. I was home, but didn't see that our neighbors had a BBQ flare up but everything was under control. That was exciting what with the police cars and fire trucks and ambulances and all but she panics fairly easily so anything a bit "different" needs to be discussed. This was going to be "different" but the good news is that there was very little smoke and flame.

Fun, eh?

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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