Tuesday, July 12, 2011

out of the dye-pot: bindweed

Bindweed and I have finally come to terms. We have a long history together and our issues seem to be working out for the greatest good for all. Plus I've discovered that bindweed really has a heart of gold.


After cutting a half pound of bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis, vines, I covered them with water in an aluminum pot and simmered it for about an hour. Then I let it cool down and sit overnight.


The next day, I removed the plant material, added alum to the dye-bath, and simmered it for 15 minutes. Presoaked pieces of white or natural wool, silks and linen were added and simmered another hour or so.


That evening, I squeezed out the cloth for air-drying and ironing. Wool and silk took the color beautifully -- linen, the least. I guess I forgot to put cotton in. These are wrapped with a 36" flowering vine and there's plenty more where this came from.


I also tasted some while it was simmering as the whole house smelled like a spinach cannery.

Like I said, we're working things out.

16 comments:

helen said...

Ohhhh ~ that so delicate colour. Makes me think of something floaty and faery. So good that you are making friends with bindweed. I do not have it in our garden, but I still have a loosely tumbled ball, from when I was weeding it at the Willow farm. It is a lovely sculpture ~ spiders live in it now :~)

What a beautiful post.

helen said...

Makes me think of vellum parchment too.....it looks seeped with age.

liniecat said...

Yes it does look beautifully aged, wonder how well it will last? And can you eat it too? Id always thought it was a poisonous plant? Or did you just taste the dye bath? ( with gin or not?)lol

woman with wings said...

Helen, the golden color really is lovely in person, too. A ball of bindweed -- I love that. I could have a ball as big as my house in a year's time, I bet. Maybe I'll make a small one for my garden altar. I've meditated, invoked & pleaded & bargained, loved & hated it, and even bound things with it over the years. We've come to this.

woman with wings said...

Lyn, a local plant dye book says it's colorfast and fadeproof. But you're right, we don't know for sure and I haven't the heart to wash it yet! In a little while. It's edible, just not much because it's a laxative. I really didn't like its taste, would have to be starving I think. Nothing, not even gin, would make it good, IMO!

Deb G said...

Well, that's one way to deal with it. Do you need more? I can send you some. :)

handstories said...

what a beautiful golden result! don't know if i could live with the smell though. brings backa memory of an awful beet incident...

Marie said...

Well, the bindweed does look lovely wrapped around the cloth. Sounds like you have come up with some creative ways of dealing with it!
It must be hard to get rid of?

woman with wings said...

Deb, hey, thanks for offering but we're good.
Ha!

woman with wings said...

Cindy, well that sounds interesting -- a beet incident. Hmm. And thanks!

woman with wings said...

Marie, if you don't have bindweed where you live, never leave this place. You are lucky. It is impossible to erradicate without using chemicals. I just always try to coexist with it, and not always from a place of love!

liniecat said...

Peggy if you have THAT much of the stuff, then haul it up and make wreaths with it, dry them and flog them to florists for Christmas.
Ive done about 25 from my clematis which Ive thinned out. I will use half of them as gifts come Christmas with added stitched decorations on them.
Will take your advice and not eat the bindweed then lol

Jo said...

This makes me laugh, as we both have been struggling with bindweed all these years. It's so aggressive and then gets that mold at the end of the summer. If only it could be used, like this or for other things, then, the use would keep it in check. I wonder if a tincture could be made to help as a laxative?

woman with wings said...

Jo, I know, isn't it crazy? It is an old-time remedy but honestly, it doesn't need to grow like there's no tomorrow if it's only useful as a laxative. No, there's some other purpose for it, I keep hoping I'll understand this plant. Really understand it!

woman with wings said...

Lyn, for some reason, I can't even imagine a wreath made from bindweed. Maybe cuz it's so scrawny when it's dried! But then if a ton of it is wrapped round & dried, who knows? What do you think? $100 per wreath? Ha. But you have planted another seed, my dear woman!

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

oh bummer. reading at the beginning i'd hoped it was delicious .... the last thing i need is a laxative...oh well...