Natural Dye Notebook :: No. 6, Jewels of Opar

Posted by Erin Howe on

Once I planted Jewels of Opar for my grocery store bouquets. Just once. I haven’t planted it in probably five years, and it just keeps coming back, straight up through the peony beds I planted on top of it, every year. The original seeds were a little on the expensive side, and I thought maybe it was something special. And it is pretty, in a fluttery way. But holy Hannah, does it keep coming back. 

It’s related to purslane, and you can eat the leaves of both. Which is great, honestly, because hot-weather greens aren’t much of a thing in climates like mine, and we can certainly use them. 

This is one of the plants that I didn’t find anyone telling me I could dye with, I just stripped handfuls of berries and flowers off the stems and put them in my dyepot. And it came out with this whole set of whisper grays that I found so lovely. But I thought, could I get them a little darker? It’s not like I’m hurting for quantity of Jewels. So I did another pot, this time with 9 times the flowers and berries.

Side by side for comparison:

Not really a lot of difference. The cardstock was a little darker, but I may have let it soak a little longer. Everything else the process was the same. Possibly a longer soak would do the trick? I’m not soaking for long periods of time, just simmering for an hour, rinsing, and letting my samples dry. I do really like the mousy brown that the felt takes, though. 

 Procedure notes:

200% weight of goods on the first attempt
900% on the second

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