One of our family's most enjoyable moments during social distancing has been daily walks around the neighborhood. Getting outside once a day is a luxury that was seemingly taken for granted prior to these strange and uneasy times. Did you know that yellow oxalis, also known as Bermuda Buttercup, yellow woodsorrel, sourgrass or pickle plant, is a natural dye? Yes, the stuff we used to pick and suck on as kids on our walks to and from school! This noxious clover is everywhere right now and dyeing with it is perfect and easiest activity to do with your kids. It makes the most beautiful and vibrant neon yellow color. Frankly, it's the mood lifting color we all need right now. Your neighbors might even thank you for helping them weed their front yards! At a distance, of course . . .
Go for a walk. When picking sourgrass, be sure to pick them from their roots! You don't want these weeds to come back. Remember, the more sourgrass you pick, the more potent your dye. ** Note, if you have pets or little children, be sure to not let them consume these in large quantities as it can be toxic.
Pick the flowers from their stems.
Fill a pot with a gallon of water and bring to a boil. Drop the flowers in and lower the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
After simmering, I recommend straining the flowers from the dye. I regret not doing this as the flower ended up staining my fabric in areas. Strain the liquid and return it to the pot while it's hot. Drop your pre-washed fabric (be sure to use natural fibers here!) and let soak for at least an hour. Stir occasionally. Afterwards rinse thoroughly with cold water and dry in the dryer. Wash all pots and strainers thoroughly with soap and hot water when finished.
I ran some dish towels through the sewing machine to add a decorative edge. After posting this on social media, I've had a few people inform me that this also works with pink bougainvillea. I'll have to wait a few more months for their bloom but I'll update you here. Stay tuned!
images by HonesltyWTF