That being said, my grandsons and I have picked these blossoms (lots of them) bare-handed, stuffing them into plastic shopping bags, simply followed by a good handwashing once back home, and have never experienced any kind of problem. However, if concerned about it, a good rule-of-thumb may be to pick and handle the blossoms using rubber gloves, followed by a thorough handwashing.
The blossoms fall easily off the plants. The summer of 2010 I dyed one 4 oz. skein of 100% wool using about 600 grams of blossoms and alum mordant. The resulting color was a peapod green.
For this year's project, I picked two plastic shopping bags full. After separating the green caps and stamins from the blossoms, my cache weighed in at 775 grams.
Once in the dyepot, I covered the blossoms with boiling water and left it to steep over night. The next morning I strained the petals from the liquid which was a deep pinkish-purple color. To this I added 1Tbs. of alum mixed in a little hot water.
When Grandpa's car buddy, Jack, heard that the grandsons and I were doing some dyeing, he gave each of the boys a 100% cotton T-shirt from his stash of shirts featuring his apple green streetrod truck (licensed APL-JACK), just for the purpose of dyeing them. We decided not to do tie-dyeing since the shirts already had a printed logo on the front. After pre-wetting the shirts, we simmered them in the dyepot for close to an hour, rinsed well, and dried. A nice celery green was the resulting color.
There still being plenty of color in the dyebath, I added two 100 yd. skeins of 100% wool yarn (one mordanted with alum, one with copper), a small silk gift bag, and swatches of silk and muslin fabric.
These simmered for about 45 minutes. After those came out of the dyebath, I added another skein, silk bag, and swatches.
Here are the results:
| Top: copper mordant; 2nd bath (T-shirts were the first bath). |
Bottom left: alum mordant; 2nd bath.
Bottom right: alum mordant; 3rd bath.
|Left: Muslin swatch, silk gift bag; 2nd bath.|
Right: Muslin swatch, silk gift bag; 3rd bath.
Note: Without applying heat to the dyebath, my result was a disappointing gray.