Sunday, December 17, 2006
I shouldn't be doing this at four o'clock in the morning -- but I couldn't sleep.
It was a gray and cold Saturday. While the boys watched some morning TV, I went out in the backyard and collected some lichens from the roof.
Lichens are used as a natural dye, and I've been reading on some Japanese blogs about interesting and beautiful results, so I can't wait to try. I'm supposed to ferment this in ammonia for several weeks, so if I can get that process started today, maybe I can dye some wool in January.
Lichens thrive only in clean air. It takes time to grow, and I'm not supposed to harvest from living trees in quantity. Imagine my excitement when I found there were lots on our roof.
I've recently bought some books on natural dyeing, and Lichen Dyes: The New Source Book is one of them. It's more like a text book, complete with annotated bibliography, and I've been enjoying reading it. The author recommends that we only use "found lichens" for dyeing -- take a walk after a storm and pick up the ones that are found on the fallen branches, etc -- Wouldn't that make a nice walk? We might need to take our Radio Flyer wagon for after-rain walks to carry all that fallen branches.
Here's today's harvest, about 5 grams, just from the edge of the roof that I was able to reach on a step ladder. Now I have 20 grams total, and I think it's enough to start a small batch.
Oh yeah. Yesterday's Liz's Happy Hat complement count -- "What a pretty hat!" -- 1.
OK, I'm going back to bed, hoping to get some sleep... I'm sure you'll hear more from me soon about lichens!