I also had to clear out the freezer so I can make the Geraldine Dillon frozen chocolate cheesecake - I only make it once a year and the time is upon us. Christmas lunch, on a hot day, purportedly.
So out came the frozen hollyhocks which have been there for who knows how long.
I had obviously been thinking about this for a few days because I had some silk soaking in alum, since Saturday. I began to think that it probably isn't good for the silk to be soaking for days in a mordant, so I had to get to today and do something with it all.
Then I dissolved some alum in a pot of water. As usual, I didn't have any great plan or any good, scientific method. I just looked through old posts and tried to remember what I did last year.
I found an interesting site on natural dyeing.
I came across a recipe for using hollyhock flowers in cooking too. Apparently, it is related to the hibiscus, which can be substituted in the recipe. So I suppose hibiscus might dye fabric also. But our flowers are pink and not as dark as the hollyhocks, so I might leave that experimentation till much later.
So now I have two jars with various silk fabrics. They are doing the cold water, slow dyeing thing (but in the hothouse in summer and some days are forecast to be hot soon, so not that cold). One jar has frozen hollyhock flowers and the other has ones I picked up off the ground today. As it rained yesterday, the colour may not be as good as it would have been if I had done it yesterday, but yesterday was too hot to do much.
|The frozen flowers are in the right-hand jar. I think the colour is more intense, it certainly came out more quickly. I will have to wait a few days to see if the dried flowers develop more intensity.|
Then I decided to make a dye bath. I dissolved some alum in the water, heated it up and then put in the rest of the frozen flowers. The colour comes out immediately, it is wonderful to see.
I put the fabric in after the flowers had been simmering for about 40 minutes - I remember reading that reds and yellows don't do so well if you heat them for too long.
After draining out the flowers, I put in some untreated silk and let it simmer for about another half hour. It is currently cooling down. I will leave it overnight and rinse it out tomorrow.
Once again, I have no ideas for using the silk pieces. None of them is very large, it will have to be some sort of collage or patchwork.
But I just couldn't let the flowers go to waste! Once again, I have only used the flowers that have dried up and fallen off the plant.