Mordore - Local Plant Dye

     In an effort to experiment with plant products growing right in my backyard, I harvested some orange honeysuckle flowers. They are the brightest thing around in the wintertime, a beautiful almost fluorescent orange that is rare in nature. The lack of information about Floridian plant dyes online was encouraging, nay, rousing me to try it out.
     Gathered the flowers. It took some time to gather enough flowers for the project, I probably harvested a full pound of blossoms twice. I dried the first batch while locating the rest of the supplies.
     Bought some alum. It is the safest, easiest mordant to use for home dying, as it is a main ingredient in some canning recipes. I think it's also the other chemical found in baking powder. Regardless, it is safe to eat and won't destroy your cooking utensils. It's in the dried herb section of your grocery store.
     Soaked the skirt in alum water in the crock pot on high for a couple of hours, then left to cool overnight.
     Meanwhile on the stove, cooked the blossoms with plain water for several hours - first bringing to a quick boil then left to simmer. Left it overnight. Then strained the flowers out and tossed them on the garden (Waste not, want not. right?)
     The next day, dumped out most of the alum water, then added my cooked blossom dye. Heated the dye with the skirt for maybe six hours in the crock pot on high, while I ran some errands. Came back, stirred the skirt a bit, left it, came back, strained out the dye water.
     Ran the skirt through the rinse and spin cycle in the washer, then into the dryer with the other clothes. And done! Really, it wasn't very much work, all said and done. And the color is very interesting.
     Next on the agenda is cherry laurel leaves. Maybe the fruits too. But will have to be very careful because of the cyanide precursors in that plant. And who knows what the color will be for the next recycled Goodwill white clothing?
    It's not a bad photo, the skirt really is that strange brass color. It's lighter in the sunlight, and I suspect it will fade with washing.   

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