I like to collect pretty hand embroidered tray and table cloths when I spot them for a bargain in charity shops or boot sales.
I love thinking of the women who made these, sitting quietly in the evenings sewing to their hearts content and the conversations that might have happened, the tea and maybe cake served over this tray cloth. It seemed right that I chose this pretty floral cloth to make another lavender and rice filled heat pack for a special friends birthday on Sunday.
I really want to learn to embroider with pretty colours and love the therapy of hand stitching. I noticed that the new Jane Brocket book is due to be released next month and if my copy of her book The Gentle art of knitting is anything to go buy, I think I will need to treat myself to this beauty. I can't wait!
It has been rather gentle here over the weekend, Alice is finding a new found level of independence with her friends going to the park or down the sea front for an ice-cream on their own leaving me and Andy at home with some time to spare. It's a weird time letting go of your child, I'm not too sure that I am 100% comfortable with it yet, but I am putting my trust in God that we are doing the right thing.
So, whilst I made us all a veggie curry on Saturday evening waiting for Alice to come home, I got some inspiration from the red onions I was chopping up whilst admiring my lavender I am drying out at the moment.
The different shades of purple are very pleasing to my eye and I've been thinking about making use of nature's fruits as a natural dye for some fabric but have never found the right moment. So, I decided to pull out some old black berries I froze from last year's pickings and make my very own shade of purple dye.
I only had about a cup of berries which I mashed down as much as I could and added 1/4 cup salt for helping the dye "to take" and not run once it has set in the fabric.
Next,I chose one of my thrifty vintage cotton pillow slips I bought for 50p in a local charity shop.
And popped it into a large enough pot (some people suggest an aluminium pot as it helps with the dying process, but I don't have one so had to make do with what I have)
I boiled the pillow slip for about 15 minutes and was quite excited to see what the outcome of my little experiment would be.
The berries look quite pale and anaemic as I poured the water into the colander...
And voila...my very first naturally dyed pillow slip emerged from the water.
I'm rather pleased with this beauty and after having a good look spotted a couple of more "stained" spots but that really doesn't bother me at all, adds to the character is what I say :o)
All in all this was good fun and I plan to have a play with some other plants to make more natural dyes again some day soon. I did happen to encounter this web site which has a fabulous list of plants and what colour dyes they produce in case you are interested. I fancy using some tumeric to make a shade of yellow/mustard.
Maybe, just maybe this might very well be a perfect pillow slip to practice some of my long awaited embroidery learning skills on?
Thanks for popping in and welcome to new follower, Yvonne of Just Blethering
Oh and thank you kindly to Lynne of Textile Treasury for my One Lovely Blog Award, much appreciated.
See you all soon