While traveling in Oregon, I found a lot of berries ripening and thought about all the natural dying process that are being used with natures bounty. Right now where I am staying on the Oregon Coast the Huckleberries and Slala Berries are ready to be picked. I picked some of the Huckleberries to eat on my pudding, they produced beautiful red purple juice, and very tasty. The Slala Berries are very tart - it is a berry that is found everywhere in the Northwest and was discovered by Lewis and Clark and there are drawing of them in their diaries. The Native Indians used them for cooking, but I decided not to eat any of them.
Berries cooking in the pot on stove.
The 3 fabrics I got from berry dying.
First, I looked up on the Internet how to fix my fabric. I had brought with me, some PFD white fabric I was going to use. The information said I could boil the fabric in salt, and that was what I had readily available. I think soda ash would have been better, but not available around here. Got me a big pot from the thrift store in town - this is a very small town - and began my task of fixing the fabric. The next day I started with the Slala Berries, boiling and simmering them in a mesh bag I had available from my fruit. Strained it and boiled a piece of fabric and let it sit in the dye bath overnight. In the morning, I began to rinse it and we had to leave to go canoeing. I let the fabric sit in the cold water. Well, that seemed to bleach out most of the color, but I did get some nice variations in the fabric. The next 2 days, I did 2 more pieces of fabric. With the Huckleberries I smashed the fabric down so it was completely covered in the dye bath and I got a nice solid piece of red purple. The 3rd day I went back to the Slala Berries and did not soak it in the cold water, just rinsed it. I got a color very similar to the Huckleberry fabric in color, but lots of variations in the fabric because I left peaks above the dye line. All in all, a fun experience, but not something I will do again unless I find a different color foliage/berry. I do have 3 nice pieces of hand-dyed green fabric.
Just got notified that my little quilt in the Labor Contest with Machine Quilting Unlimited placed 3rd. My little quilt (these were an 8"x 10" requirement) was a tribute to my husband "Charlie - Ironworker". I had a photo of him taken while working on a high rise building in Los Angeles and I printed it on fabric for this quilt. I am very happy and excited with this honor. It will be printed in their September issue and it will be in their booth at Houston - where I can see it too, along with my Estuary.