1. Collect walnut hulls. You need about 10 lbs of hulls for 1 lb of fiber for the darkest brown. You should wear gloves as hulls stain.
2. soak hulls for 24 hours.
3. Simmer hulls for 90 minutes
4. Let sit for 24 hours
5. use a strainer to remove hulls & strain through cheese cloth .
6. Add fiber to dye.
7. Heat slowly to 160 degrees and maintain temperature an hour to 90 minutes.
8. Turn off heat and let cool.
9. Drain yarn, rinse yarn, drain again. Do not just run water over your yarn as it can cause felting.
10. Let yarn dry & enjoy.
Please remember when dyeing with wool to change the temperature slowly and do not stir or agitate to prevent felting of wool.
These pictures are from when Emily and I dyed yarn at Everlaughter Farm. Also, tumblr wouldn’t let me upload the last picture.
Sorry it took me so long to put this together!
Plantain (Plantago major and P. Lanceolata)
Parts used: Sseds, roots, leaves
Benefits: Plantain is a common weed across almost all of North America and is a highly nutritional food. It is one of the best poultice herbs and is often referred to as the “green bandage.” It’s among the best herbs for treating blood poisoning, used externally on the infected area and internally as a tea. Plantain seeds are a rich in mucilage and are often used in laxative blends for their soothing action. In fact, psyllium seeds used in Metamucil are produced from a Plantago species. This herb is also very effective for treating liver sluggishness and inflammation of the digestive tract.
Suggested uses: Plantain is quite mild in flavor and makes a nice infusion. It can also be powdered and added to food or used as an herbal first-aid powder for infections. Or make a poultice with the fresh leaves to soothe irritation and infection.
Right now is the time of year plantain is going to seed here in the southeast. I often use it simply for bee stings and in my salves, which Emily (the new intern at the farm) and I will be doing soon.
However, Emily met someone on the train who told her about grinding the seeds into a flour, so we might try that out.
SOON TO COME: A STEP BY STEP PICTURE GUIDE TO DYEING WITH BLACK WALNUT
you just gotta wait until it’s all done and we’ve documented the whole process
y’all i know i have abandoned this blog for four months, but there are some posts in the works! thanks for still following.
I’m considering expanding this blog to a farming blog to document what I learn on the farm I’m going to be interning at for five months. I’d really like to document my experiences there, and it does relate to plants.
Would any of you mind?
How to treat eczema naturally (a personal and common knowledge post)
I know most traditional remedies for eczema only provide slight relief. Steroids, in the long run, cause the skin to weaken and become even more susceptible to outbreaks. I’ve been told by dermatologists again and again they have no idea how to help me.
So this is mostly a post about how I handle my own eczema and other available natural remedies. I suffer from atopic dermatitis and dishydrotic eczema.
The number one thing is to be aware of your triggers and allergens and avoid them. I know they can be difficult to identify and avoid. One of my triggers is water. It just helps to know what causes your discomfort. Avoiding synthetic scented things (lotions, soaps, perfumes, and laundry soaps can really help). Keeping a journal about how your skin feels and any possible triggers or treatments can also help.
The second thing I’d recommend is an elimination diet. These are difficult. You pretty much have to eliminate all possible food allergens from your diet for four weeks and then slowly add them back in, noting how your skin and body reacts. It’s hard, believe me, but it can help.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are also really helpful. My advice here is to see an acupuncturist who practices TCM and who you feel comfortable with. Look for reviews, talk to people who get acupuncture. If you don’t feel good about it, don’t get it.
Now, onto the remedies you can provide yourself. For herbal teas (infusions and decoctions) I use dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, or plantain. They are all detoxifying and cleansing herbs. All of these would also work as tinctures.
The awesome thing about all of these plants also is that they are very common and easily wildcrafted. Most of them are seen as weeds and are in your front lawn. So feel free to research pictures of any of the above and practice some identification.
Other herbs (and if you’re just not into that) can be found here.
- Dandelion is one of the most cleansing and tonifying herbs while also being very gentle. A dandelion root tea with ginger, mints, and licorice is one of my all time favorite teas. It tastes wonderful, is well balanced, and is incredibly good for you.
- Burdock is another wonderful herb. You can use the leaves and the roots, depending on when you’re harvesting. Plantain is gentle and an anti-inflammatory. It helps itching and stimulates the growth of new skin. It’s widely abundant.
- Yellow dock is a plant I am far more wary of it. It’s an incredibly strong detoxifier and helps cleanse the liver and blood. However, it is also a laxative. Start in small doses.
Oils are the fun part! I cannot use lotions because they contain water, but you can extract almost any herb in any oil. Explore which oils you like. I’m a big fan of coconut oil, almond oil, and grapeseed oil.
Here’s a how to about oil extractions. Also click through the picture for more info about calendula oil extractions.
You can do an all-in-one oil with calendula, comfrey, burdock, and plantain that’ll be healing, cooling, cleansing, anti-inflammatory and will help with the itching, which is what I often do. Or you can take the herbs one at a time. Right now I have a simple calendula/grapeseed extraction I use before and after my showers.
Gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, is an omega-6 fatty acid that is found in chamomile, borrage seed oil, evening primrose oil, and licorice. It has been shown to possibly help eczema. I personally take evening primrose oil daily and I think that it helps. Borrage and evening primrose can be found in capsules at pretty much any vitamin outlet. Chamomile tea is easy to find at most grocery stores and you can find licorice at most places that carry herbs.
I know these are a lot of options, and if anyone wants me to expand at all with any exact recipes or has any questions, please feel free to ask. Any criticism or any input where you think I should elaborate is very welcome.
Don’t feel scared to start with any one of the above mentioned options and work with it.
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Parts used: Ariel parts of the plant
Benefits: This weedy plant can be found growing around the world, especially anywhere moist, cultivated soil can be found. Seriously, walk outside right now and you’ll probably find some in your backyard along with other weed wonders like dandelion, plantain and clover. Chickweed is highly esteemed for it emollient and demulcent properties and is used to treat skin irritations (especially sunburn and insect bites), eye inflammation, and kidney disorders. It is a mild diuretic and is indicated in water retention. It is an excellent poultice herb and is often found in salve formulas because of its soothing effects on the skin. Additionally, it is a chock-full of nutrients like calcium, potassium and iron!
Suggested uses: The fresh tender greens are delicious in salads. They can be juiced or blended with pineapple juice and are often made into salves. A light infusion of chickweed is quite soothing. The plant doesn’t dry or store well, so to preserve it for future use, it is best to tincture it fresh.
Herbal infused oils are a common ingredient in both herbal medicine and herbal magic. The oil I made today will be used in shampoo, lotion, hair treatments, and probably to anoint several candles for summer Work.
I chose to use olive oil as my carrier oil, but you can use apricot, almond, jojoba, coconut, or really whatever you’d like. Do some research and find out what would be best for your purposes, or simply fall back on what’s available and practical. I prefer organic, but you may not feel the need to be so picky.
There is an even wider selection of herbs to choose from. Pick based on your needs. I used red rose petals, calendula blossoms, and chamomile blossoms. The rose and calendula help soften the skin, and encourage healthy growth and red and gold highlights in the hair, especially with exposure to the sun. Chamomile is nourishing to itchy skin and scalp and dry frazzled hair, and encourages hair growth as well. All three are special to the spirits with whom I work. Rose is excellent for soothing the saddened heart and for bringing passion and love into your life. Calendula is an energetic plant blessed by the sun. Chamomile is just as much a spiritual medicine as a physical one. I find all three scents very soothing and healing, and they blend together very well. Find herbs that resonate with you - they may well tell you what the best blend is.
What you’ll need:
- dried herbs
- carrier oil
- a clean glass bottle
- a label
I used an empty honey jar - I’m a big fan of recycling glass bottles and jars. If they smell funny, wash them out with vinegar, then soap and water. Labels can usually be removed with hot water or alcohol. If you’re at all worried about what was in it, you can fill the bottles with water, set them in a pot full of water, and then boil the whole thing for an hour or two, and that will kill everything that might be in or on the glass. Do not try this with plastic. I don’t like using plastic bottles for any of my herbal work anyway, but obviously boiling plastic is a bad idea.
Some people measure their herbs and oil. I’m totally not one of those people. Just use a handful of each. Crumble them, mix them, and put them into the jar. Then pour the oil over them, completely submerging the herbs. There should be roughly an inch of oil above the top of the herbs, and be sure sure that you leave about an inch of room at the top of the bottle to give the herbs room to expand as the oil soaks into them.
Cap tightly, and label with the name of the mix, if you have one, the ingredients if you care to, the date you made the oil, and the date six weeks from now, when the oil will be ready.
It will take six weeks to steep, and you should shake the bottle enthusiastically every day to help diffuse the herbal essences into the oil. Keep the jar on a warm, sunny windowsill to further aid this process. Putting energy, enthusiasm, prayers, Reiki, or whatever you’d like into this process will make it that much more potent. Take time to admire the color, enjoy the smell, and appreciate what you’ve created.
This is a wonderfully informative post with really beautiful pictures. I love sun-extractions. Calendula extracted into almond oil or grapeseed oil makes a really wonderful moisturizer.
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