Sunday, 13 May 2012

comfrey dye

the plant

 a very pale olive green

the method: I chopped the whole plant (except the root), put the bits into a large pan, just covered with water and brought this to the boil, added the fabrid (no mordant) and a piece of copper pipe, left to simmer for about two hours; removed and rinsed the fabric (very pale shade) blended the comfrey mush, passed it through a sieve back into the pan together with the cloth and copper (I did not add the remaining mush); I packed two bits of cotton cloth around wads of mush, tied with elastic bands, added these to the pan and brought the whole mixture to the boil and let simmer for about an hour, removed the pan from heat and left to soak overnight.  This morning I took out the bits of loose fabric and they have been washed with water and soap, hung out to dry and ironed.

Put the two packages into a glass jar with remaining liquid and the copper pipe, will leave them till next weekend, see if a longer soak makes a difference.

8 comments:

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

what a magnificant plant..comfrey
and it pleases me no end that
you have it there, in your world, and i have here, in mine.
same moon, same plant...Good!

stickyfingers said...

comfrey is such a use-full plant, i did not know you could dye with it - i look forward to seeing the result, maybe you will use some of the fabric on your stitching with jude

i hope you get to make a rocket stove, it's good for cooking as well as dyeing - you might find out more about dyeing on Natural Surface (naturaldying.ning.com)

stickyfingers said...

comfrey is such a use-full plant, i did not know you could dye with it - i look forward to seeing the result, maybe you will use some of the fabric on your stitching with jude

i hope you get to make a rocket stove, it's good for cooking as well as dyeing - you might find out more about dyeing on Natural Surface (naturaldying.ning.com)

saskia said...

yes Grace that is a comforting thought: sharing some of the same things!
and stickyfingers
the very pale olive IS the result; perhaps the bundles that are still soaking in the pot will be darker;
what I noticed with the dye-mush, it felt very slippery like you could use it for your skin; in Dutch it is called smeerwortel, which translates to something like 'rubbing root' so maybe it was once used as a medicinal plant and thank you for the site reference!
Isn't Jude's class just great for meeting you all!!

deemallon said...

oh goodie - I have several enormously prolific comfrey plants - will try this summer!

jan said...

comfrey is a wonderful plant. I use it as a feed for other plants in the garden. Add some leaves to the watering can, and let it break down a few days, then pour; yum!
It's also known as 'knitbone'; a healing herb for people. You can use it in poultices. I made up some 'comfrey oil' years ago. It helps heal wounds. But it's important to ensure that the skin is absolutely clean, as comfrey encourages the skin to heal, and if there's a speck of dirt/germs in the skin, it can cause infections, as the skin heals over the dirt/germs! The bees love it too, so it's an absolutely essential garden herb!

saskia said...

thanks Jan for the information, comfrey really is a very useful plant! did you see the wild beehive?!

jan said...

Just seen them! How wonderful! And....synchronicity...I've just finished reading a book called 'A Recipe For Bees' by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. Set in Canada; a couple's life story, told with the woman's beekeeping stories. Jan