Nothing in my life doesn’t have a story.

Long, long ago, back in the days when I had a waistline, I read some article about how farmers and country people in general talk. Somewhere in there was a bit about how if something didn’t end up to be the big money-maker, one would say they had stopped monkeying around with it, to make it sound like they were just playing, and that it wasn’t a big deal.

Because I worry a lot about failure, from now on, I will be merely monkeying around with stuff. Like this.

Makesomething wrote about taking a guerrilla dye class. She cleverly didn’t talk about all the techniques that India Flint has come up with, so that you will be tempted to take the class yourself, which I would love to do if I had the time and the money and the leisure. I don’t, so I started monkeying around, which always starts with googling and library searches. I was especially looking at mordants, one of which is tannin.

The shelter garden I volunteer at functions entirely on donations. One of the donations many years ago was a black currant bush, which is now about 20 feet wide. We were picking the currants and talking about what they could be used for, when the Master Gardener (!) casually mentioned that the sour taste in the black currants is from tannin. You can now see where all this is going.

(I’m sorry. I am impulsive. When I go off on some adventure, I don’t think about posterity or the blog or even keeping track of how I do things, so no pictures.) I bought some bleached muslin, washed it, laid a few berries and leaves on the material, folded it and tied it, and put the pieces of fabric in a gallon jar half-filled with water and set it in the sun for a couple of days.

The darkest places are where I squished the berries the most. There’s only a faint greenish-yellow shadow where the leaves were placed.

I want to try this again, with just leaves and branches tied into the cloth, and actually simmering the dyebath. Looking at the pictures from makesomething, I wonder if they didn’t put in a lot more vegetable matter.

Something to monkey around with.

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