Woad vs the Cabbage Moths

So, the Woad was getting chewed up by Cabbage Moths. Moved the pot and covered with “hardware cloth”. The moths have enough to eat and I need the blue dye.

Brown and Green cotton getting started with squashed (by cats) Catnip. Woad roots look pretty shallow to me so I think that will live well in pots.

Green Cotton, Brown Cotton and a bit of Woad

Green cotton
Green cotton
Brown cotton
Brown cotton
Brown cotton
Brown cotton

Brown cotton seeds starting to come up. Cotton is always interesting to watch. The plant starts elbowing up and as the leaves open up they push off the seed casing.

woad
Woad

And the Woad. Woad is not a desert plant. (Pause for a moment of duh.) It requires some extra care when weather is hot and dry.
These two are surviving but look a bit raggedy here due to snacking by bugs. Moved them to a different corner and mixed up some insecticidal soap. Hoping for the best here.

End of Oxalis 2020

Last of the Oxalis
Last Oxalis 2020

I’m really a craptacular blogger. Haven’t posted since January when the Oxalis started to take off. As I have often posted, Oxalis is a pain-in-the-neck for gardens but a great dye plant. It goes rampant around January and starts to die off around May-June when the weather heats up.

dye plant demo
From the Huntington Gardens Fiber Day Demo (last year)

January 2020: Oxalis and Bees Again

In Los Angeles the Oxalis invasion start around January

January is when the Oxalis starts it’s annual invasion. As annoying as it can be – taking over the garden – it’s still my staple for yellow dye and a favorite with local bees. I let the bees have at it in the morning and pick after. By the time it starts dying off I’ll have a good supply of dried oxalis, enough for myself and to give away to other dyers.

oxalis samples: wool, soy-silk, cotton
Oxalis samples: wool, soy-silk, cotton

Recipe notes here: http://www.jmjamison.com/2008/01/

Of Woad, Oxalis, and Cotton Mordanting

[Bees in the Oxalis]

About the Woad.  I haven’t written much about Woad since there hasn’t been any for awhile. Woad is not a desert plant. (Pause for a moment of duh.) My area of southern California is what some may call “reclaimed desert”. Something you can forget until the car breaks down in the San Fernando Valley in July and there is your reminder. 

Two years of drought wiped out whatever Woad I still had growing. But, I still have seeds from the last plant so I’m going to try again this year. Nothing of course can wipe out Oxalis.  And the bees like it.

My other on-going project will be mordanting cotton following the method described in John Liles ‘Art and craft of natural dyeing”.    Lots of scouring, soaking and then mordanting, more steeping, more soaking and then you get to the actual dying.  

 

Dyeing with Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

rosmary-wool-01

I have lots of Rosemary. Even sharing it, making incense and medicinals there’s lots left over. At some point it does have to be trimmed back so I tried it out as a dye plant.

rosmary-wool-01

The bottom row is what I started out with, my standard Bartlett yarn ‘natural white’, light gray, medium and dark gray. Cotton was unsuccessful.

For the dye stuff, starting with Ida Grae’s suggestions* I used fresh Rosemary 1×1 and 3×1. Simmered the Rosemary for an hour and let it cool over night.

Here are a couple of sites that describe Rosemary as a dye.

Naturally Dyeing: <http://naturallydyeing.blogspot.com/2011/05/rosmarinus-officinalis.html>

Dyeing Fabric with Culinary Herbs: <http://www.motherearthliving.com/garden-projects/culinary-herb-goes-dye-crazy.aspx>

Ida Grae points out that most cooking herbs will produce  yellows. If I can eat or use something as a medicinal I tend not to dye with it but the Rosemary here is so plentiful it’s worth trying. Same probably goes for Lavender but I haven’t tried that yet.

 

*Ida Grae / Nature’s Colors: Dyes from Plants, 1979.

 

March 2016 Weld and Woad

Weld plant, March 2016
Weld plant, March 2016

This Weld plant popped up nearby so I put the bricks around it – my universal marker for this-is-not-really-a-weed-dont-pull-or-stomp-on.  With any luck this one will have the tenacity to survive the current drought conditions.

woad_2016_march.jpg
Woad in yard, March 2016

This is the surviving Woad plant from last year.