Dying with plant material has changed the way I look at spring. I consider every bright flower and budding leaf as a possible color palette for a scarf. Lots of plants are great for this purpose. Red salvias, lavender, purple basil and bougainvillea are a few that I had success with.
To dye a silk scarf, you’ll need to prepare the silk first by soaking it in a mordant so the dye will be permanent. Make a solution of 4.5 Tablespoons of alum with a quart of boiling water to dissolve. Mix this with enough tap water to cover your fabric and stir well to make a more dilute solution. Add your scarves and heat water to 200 degrees F. Hold it at that temperature for 45 minutes, then allow to cool. Use gloves to handle the fabric for a quick rinse. You can dye immediately or you can allow the scarves to dry and dye up to a week later.
I started by arranging the flowers and leaves on the scarf, then rolled it up tightly, around a one inch wide wooden dowel and tied it securely in place with undyed cotton yarn.
I propped the dowels in my steamer and steamed for 20 minutes. Once cool, I unwrapped, discarded the spent plant material and ironed the fabric to set the pretty colors.
I was amazed at the vibrant result! Such a fun project to create this pretty, wearable memory of the fleeting spring season. Just for fun, I added a crochet and bead border, and yes! We do have a tutorial for that : Adding Beads to your Knitting
Happy Spring Flower Days!