Friday, June 28, 2013

Dyeing with bindweed. Really.

And no, while I am sure the bindweed from your yard is just wonderful, I do NOT need any more.  Thank you for thinking of me.

And who ever dropped off the yard bag of bindweed by my driveway, I am sending it off for DNA testing and I will find you.

Okay, just kidding about the DNA testing.  Pulling bindweed in the hot sun all yesterday has me sort of loopy.  I now have such gratitude for weeds that "stay pulled" like grass, pigweed, and just about everything else but bindweed.

I found this fun link to more information about bindweed.  I have not tested any of the various suggestions for uses of bindweed except for the dyeing and I did not get the green that she suggests.

Here is the link to the U.S.D.A. site on bindweed.  I found out many things about bindweed that I did not know.  Worth the read even though it is very long.

Finally, here is a link that discusses various bindweed control methods.  I use the pull and pull and pull method.  Which is why my right hand is in a brace - ouch!

But once or twice a summer, I gather all that bindweed into a 5 gallon bucket and happily bring it into the dye kitchen.  I use the "standard method" of extracting the color from fresh plants.  Here is the link to how I do it.

Notice, I am wearing leather gloves.
A very good idea to keep you safe
from pokes, scrapes, and bites.

We found out this spring that the early bindweed does not have much color in it.  Wait until the leave are dark green and a bit tough looking for the best color.  The smaller pan in the pictures is from this years spring bindweed.  The big pans are from last summers bindweed.  Not be be confusing.

Big bucket o' bindweed.

It does grow back, but I get great joy knowing that this is one crop of seeds that will not be produced.  This was last summer.

Simmering for no less than an hour to extract the color.

It doesn't have a ton of smell to it, sort of spinach-y.  Animals do eat bindweed, my horse seems to like it.  I actually have not eaten any.  Hmm, might have to try it.  Anyway, after the time has past, the leaves get all cooked looking and there is color in the water, it is time to remove the bindweed and get to making color!

Well cooked bindweed.  You can see how the plant
mass climbs up the side of the pot.  Don't over fill.

I didn't use a big strainer bag, so I used tongs to remove most of the vines then strained it through a big metal strainer into a 5 gallon bucket on the floor.  I poured the clean dye back into the pot and put it back on the stove.

I have the "big pot rings" on the stove for
my dye pots.  

We had enough to do 2 pots of color last summer, so we did.  It gave us 14 skeins of color in that lot.  I moved the yarns gently through out the process to make sure they dye evenly.  I tend to do this rather than use bigger pots.  It works for me.

Bindweed color on alum mordanted wool and silk

Pulling the dyed skein out of the pot.  Use rubber gloves and tongs, they are hot!

I think next time I do this, I will play with iron and copper mordants to get other colors.  We did get a nice green with an over-dye of indigo, but that is another blog.

Sheron and Kathy with bindweed and yarn
You can see by the smiles that we are happy to have destroyed at least some of the bindweed in the world.

Now go out there and dye something!


Erik S said...

Hi Sheron,

I have a big batch of bind weed drying on the back porch. It got rained on last night when I was out of town. Should I start over? I have a good source of very tough bindweed growing on packed bare ground.

Sheron Buchele Rowland said...

Hi Erik,

It's not like it is a endangered resource!

But I am sure it will be fine to dye with the dampened bindweed. If it molds, then I would dispose of it.

Sounds like you should get good color with that bindweed growing with meager resources.

Good luck!