Wednesday, October 1, 2014

backyard wildcrafting

  Before the wind and frost take them all away I recruited the kids to help me gather up some of the aspen leaves. They have a little grove of quakies that surrounds a digging spot of their's and last week it practically glowed yellow. It didn't take long before they found other games to play but there were so many leaves on the ground that it only took a few minutes for us to fill the pot.

 Given a bit of heat and then some time to ferment, I've found that aspen gives up a yellow almost as bright as the leaves are right now. (That and an afterbath in iron tea will tip it over to green.) I plan on making up a few vats before the cold sets in and dyeing some alpaca and tussah I have on hand. Having our own yard now makes this plant dyeing stuff so much more convenient. Last year's aspen leaves were gleaned from the old Georgetown Cemetery.
I had a late start this year, but as of right now there is a vat of white sage hanging out on the back porch (soon to be brought in from the cold) and I have some nettle to harvest before it freezes. It probably won't give up as much color as it would have when the weather was still warm. But I bet I can still coax a pale Kaiser green out if it.

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