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So what did I do with those leaves and berries for my silk?

We were so busy getting ready for the annual Village of yesteryear at the North Carolina State Fair that I only had one shot at a batch of eco-dyed scarves! Looking over instructions from a brief workshop, I gathered my supplies and set to work!

Home grown red clay

The dried red clay I dug out  of a nearby bank had been stored in a pickle jar.  The leaves and berries were in a plastic tub, ready for use.  Following instructions, I washed a batch of silk scarves in an alum solution for a long while. When done, I began what became an all afternoon process of laying out the scarves, applying the leaves, bundling them and boiling the bundles then leaving to “process” for several days.

My outdoor picnic table worked just fine. I had the sense to photograph each laid out scarf so I would know what worked and what did not.  It is very much a trial and error process but that is what makes it so fun!

Eventually after several days, I opened the bundles and it is very much like opening a gift-no idea what to expect! I was pleasantly surprised at my efforts. The scarves were soft, subtle and beautifully patterned. Some were not as gorgeous as others (I discovered that was indeed however in the eye of the beholder!) and some took the various natural products well!

Stirring the Soup

Rolling the leaves between plastic wrap on silk.

Wrapped bundles of silk processing.

Drying on the clothes rack

Leaf imprint

Imprinted fern leaves from my property

So the results were a it at my recent 11 day show and I cannot wait to use the leaves I am gathering now, before the winter takes them away! Right now there are some gorgeous fall colors and I am curious to see how they will dye. In the meantime, simply gathering them on a stunning fall day -my first “free” day in awhile, is what makes this process so enjoyable!

So back to snipping and storing for the winter!

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