Sunday, December 23, 2012

The trials of Christmas

I read about freezing flowers, in India Flint's book, Eco Colour, and thought I would give it a go.  That was about 18 months ago.  I have frozen oxalis flowers and camellia petals.  I keep thinking I should re-read what to do with them and actually do it.
I also collected some mulberries a few weeks ago and froze those too.
Now it is the Christmas get-together-and-eat-badly time.  I decided to resurrect a frozen chocolate cheesecake recipe from years ago to take with me to Christmas lunch.  It will definitely contribute to the eat badly theme - cream cheese, chocolate, caster sugar, cream and eggs.
This has involved remembering where all the cooking implements are, how to organise the ingredients and implements properly and then making room in the freezer to get the cheesecake ready - oh no, the freezer is full.
Most of the stuff in the freezer was food but there were also those packets of petals and mulberries.  I desperately needed the room so out came the book to find out what I might try to do with the dyeing plantstuff.
Then down to the glasshouse, where I keep my dyeing supplies, to start using some of the bits that can no longer stay in the freezer.  It wasn't the perfect day for this, the forecast temperature was 39C (102F) and working in the glasshouse wasn't that appealing.  Fortunately it started off cool and has gradually got hotter.  
I took the scarves that I had dyed using mulberries, one that had a blue patch and two that had come out very pale pink.

I just spread the frozen mulberries in the scarves and put them in jars for some cold (not so cold in this weather) dyeing. I added a little bit of alum to the water as I read that it encourages a bluer colour and I thought that might hide the single blue spot on the darker scarf. The water certainly has a more purple colour than the mulberry dyeing I did recently.

I was also told by a woman I met recently, who is a member of the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens Plant Craft Cottage Group, that the salty water I soaked the silk in for the mulberry dyeing is not a mordant and that the colour may fade in a couple of years. Hopefully the alum will address this issue.

I feel as if I was just making it up as I went but that is the sort of vibe I get from India's book.  Here's hoping I haven't just wasted all that vegetation and the scarves.

So now they are sitting in their jars and I have to contain my desire to go and see how they are doing.  Maybe I will just forget about them, like I have been doing with the frozen petals. Hopefully I will be able to look at them in the next couple of weeks, not 18 months down the track.

The petals are now in a coolbox with ice packs while I decide what to do with them.  It is too hot, and I am too exhausted from remembering how to cook, to do any more today. Maybe on Boxing Day.


parlance said...

Don't leave them too long, or you might get a mouldy color!

Those pics of the jars look gorgeous.

Mary said...

Parlance, I am hoping it will be ok. There seem to be some people who put their fabric (even their tapestries) into compost heaps and have reasonable results. It is not something I am aiming to do in the near future. I would especially not want to put all that work into weaving something and then put it out to rot!