This phrase came to me because I’ve been dyeing some wool for my One Year One Outfit challenge, and I felt very witchy indeed as I was stirring my cauldron and watching my wool change colour!
[I have since changed the title, and I know I am misquoting William Shakespeare, but if Walt Disney can do it, so can I!]
First up, sourgrass flowers. I am pretending that I am cultivating sourgrass in my garden for this project, but I’m really just too
busy lazy to pull them out. I have masses of the plants but no flowers. This sent me on a trip round the neighbourhood, but my neighbours groom their gardens so I was reduced to finding some on a vacant block, which I happily harvested.
I simmered my flowers with some knitted i-cord and some 4ply wool, and the resulting colour is a deep, deep gold. Lovely.
I had a friend visiting and she needed some yellow wool to mend a teddy’s ear, so we dunked a bit in the pot towards the end of the simmer time, and then I put a piece of white knitting in after we had turned off the gas.
From left to right: my piece of knitting which spent about five minutes in the cooling liquid. Teddy’s wool. My i-cord and the length of wool.You can see the variation in the colours.
Then Nicki from Thisismoonlight told me about red ink sundew bulbs which dye a bright red. Hmm. I had to google the flowers as I had never heard of them. According to my good friend, Wikipedia, their botanic name is Drosera erythrorhiza and they are a flat, rosetted tuberous, perennial herb. A herb? Well, when I saw the picture I had a conniption. I love these little plants and take photos of them constantly. Here are some in what I call my “fairy dell” at our holiday place. See the little rosettes?
These plants are quite shy. They hide under leaves and, once I started looking, I found them everywhere. I didn’t have a trowel to use to dig them up, so I started with a chisel. No bulbs. So I went to a shovel. The bulbs are surprisingly deep and remarkably coy. I worked hard – and destroyed quite a few plants – in my attempts to get just a few bulbs. I was careful to minimise the destruction, and harvested from several different locations. The bulbs are orangey red and vary from minuscule to the size of a pea. I started with two bulbs and a short length of wool and got a dried blood colour. Not bright then. I took some bulbs home with me and simmered them up with some lengths of wool (sorry the photo is out of focus, but I only took the one for some reason).
I used a stainless steel pot instead of the aluminium pot I initially used and the result was quite different. I got a gorgeous dusky pink colour.
I put a piece of felt in the cooling liquid and zapped it for a minute in the microwave and love that colour too. Here it is with my golden i-cord.
I have already run out of the gold for my project. Erk! Back to collect more flowers.
I think I left too much greenery with the flowers because my wool is more yellow and I need that almost medieval gold for my outfit. Can you see the difference?
I only need a small amount to finish a little section, so I’ll be back picking flowers again tomorrow for another go. Today’s batch won’t be wasted though, I will find a use for it.
I also had a little experiment with snake vine flowers (Hibbertia scandens) and they do nothing when simmered. Nada. Zip.
I might have another play with these, but in the meantime I really must start getting an outfit together!