Our eco-dyeing experiment.

We did this backwards, picking plants before preparing our fabric, so we didn’t mordant the fabrics we used. Enter our first experiments- will the prints work without mordanting the fabric beforehand? (I did soak the fabrics in water with sea salt for an hour or so before placing our plants on them….)

Goldenrod galore.

Then we took an afternoon excursion to a nearby park to collect flowers and plants. Milla fell asleep while Micah moaned about having worn her rain boots on a hot, sunny day.

Max kept the team together and carried the plant-collecting bowl for us.

Our plant harvest.

Once we got home and unloaded sleeping Milla, Max and I began sorting the harvest. We decided to tear (or cut) the goldenrod flowers from the goldenrod stems for one bowl.

Then we set aside the crepe myrtles on a different plate. We also decided to use some of the goldenrods with stems to see how the leaves would print. Max suggested using a bowl for combined clover leaves and various loose plants that we could mix and match in patterns.

Then we prepared the two chosen fabrics (I use this “prepared” term preposterously). The natural white linen and natural white gauze were each boiled for about 20 minutes in a pot of water mixed with sea salt.

Then we took the fabrics out of the box and wrung the extra water from them before laying them out flat on the sidewalk. The munchkins asked the flower fairies to forgive us our pickings before placing arranging the harvest on the the linen and gauze. Max added two rusty nails for good luck.

We only arranged the plant matter halfway across each fabric. Then we folded the unused half of the fabric over the half with plants.

I pressed down hard on the folded fabric before beginning to fold it over in an almost-rolling motion. The fabric then looked like the long, wet strip you see below. Max pressed down on the strip and then I folded across the strip into little squares until I ended up with a fat little square.

Max held the square tightly together as I wrapped and knotted it with twine. Two stout little parcels of printing possibility….

Then things ended on the ugly side- with a boiling pot on the stove and not much color. We simmered our parcels for about an hour in salt water and then moved the pot onto the front steps for the night.

Tommorow brings the excitement of teaching Sunday school with Patrick AND NOW seeing what took place overnight with our fabric. Will the fairies bless our experiment? Maybe replace mordanting with a little magic? It remains to be seen…

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