I intend to invite JOY into each day.
Here we are at the height of summer. The sun has been with us for most of June and July, offering light and warmth to lift us up, and possibly a defense against our current illness. My gardens are full and green, and it's a JOY to gather the leaves and flowers to make Sanctuary Innerwear each morning. Today I foraged this year's first armful of goldenrod and smelled its pungent, fresh aroma in the early morning dew. It brings me JOY to show you the process of dyeing in this blog, so please read on...
I noticed a more prominent visit from mullein this summer and wondered about it. Last summer St. John's Wort graced the field in abundance, and it occurred to me as I picked it and made a salve for my husband's nerve troubles, how lucky we were that it was there. Now I'm suspicious about the mullein. Do we need it right now? Sure enough, mullein is known to open airways, a "go-to herb for respiratory ailments and lung issues" (Body Into Balance, Groves, 2016). Wow.
I am preparing to go back to work, like many others. I have been thinking it's a good time to set some personal and professional goals so that I can make the most of my remaining formal employment. I'm reading "The 12 Week Year" and love how it calls me each day to act on what I want for the future. I've set some goals for my next 12 weeks, and the first one is "To do something that makes someone appreciative....x 12". I aim to do this by listening to my clients (and my Sanctuary Innerwear customers) to find what they want and after weighing the pros and cons, work hard to give them that. Another is to "have 12 a-ha moments". I will do this by taking a mental break from Sanctuary Innerwear and doing some summer reading (for fun!) and keeping a diary. Achieving my goals has significant intrinsic benefits to me. If you're interested in helping me achieve them, you can Sign up for my newsletter and respond to some questions I have there.
I believe JOY comes to those who accomplish things that are
challenging, interesting and helpful.
To prepare a natural cellulosic fabric for dyeing, scour the fabric (wash thoroughly to remove all manufacturing residues) and heat it gradually in a pot of water with pickling alum. Let the water nearly boil while moving the fabric around and then turn off the heat and leave the fabric overnight in the alum. This will bind the alum to the fabric, opening the fibres and intensifying (and brightening) the colour. You will see the white alum settled on the fabric. Remove the fabric from the alum and wash it thoroughly.
To dye with goldenrod, pick flowers when they are just opening for the best colour. Cut the flowers from the stem, and don't worry about some remaining leaves. Put them in a pot of water and heat it until lightly boiling. Simmer for 15 minutes to extract the colour from the flowers.
Remove and strain the water to get your dyebath. It should be a yellow-y orange colour. You can dye with the dye bath cold or warm, depending on the intensity of yellow you are looking for. A cold bath will give you a lighter colour. If you are heating the dyebath, put the fabric in first, then heat gradually and stir regularly so as to allow the colour to adhere to the fabric evenly.
Once the fabric is a little darker than the colour you want, remove it from the pot and wash it (I use Dawn dishwashing soap for this step). Rinsing should be done in hot water at first, then changing to cool, taking 3-5 rinses. Once the water runs clear, the colour is set. Dry the fabric.
Use the dye bath to water your garden. It is acidic and acrid, making it good for pest control.
Also, get more goldenrod (remember, pick no more than 10% of the growth in any wild location) and dry it for next year! Making this big beautiful yellow in the middle of winter will do wonders for your JOY! (See?! I gathered some mullein for later too .....
And so as I allow my mind and my days to take on new obligations, schedules, worries and plans, I reflect on the JOY I've had living for today, being in the present, connecting with now, dancing with the earth.
Perhaps down the road, my goal will be to try to come back here.
Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine,
I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine.
A million tomorrows shall all pass away,
ere I forget all the JOY that we've had....
I'm the designer and creator of
a line of hand made clothing worn next to the skin which imparts goodness from plants through the hand-dyed and infused fabric.