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From the previous release of the video (‘Hot and Sour Rice Noodles made by sweet potato‘, released on Nov. 25th, 2018) to this one (‘hand-made plant-dyed cloak with lamb wool‘, released on Dec. 21st,2018), it has almost been a month. In the coming days, there will be some innovative actions by Li ziqi(Li ziqi’s Bio), and these will surely surprise her fans.
Ok, let’s get down to “business” and see what’s so special about this video.
================This is a gorgeous dividing line======================
What kind of plant did Li ziqi use to dye the cloak?—Chinese spinach fruit
Basella alba (in Chinese: 落葵) is known under various common names: “Malabar spinach”, “Ceylon spinach”, “Indian spinach”, “Chinese spinach”. (পুঁই শাক / 潺菜, 木耳菜, 落葵 or 蚕菜 / つるむらさき / espinaca china / mồng tơi / ผักปลัง)
Basella alba(Chinese spinach) is originally from Asian tropical regions. There are many basella alba in the northern and southern parts of China. Many wild basella alba grow in the south.
The leaves of Chinese spinach contain a rich variety of vitamins, calcium, and iron. They can be cultivated as vegetables or merely be appreciated. The whole leaves are used for medicinal purposes, such as a laxative, which can help to solve constipation, dissipating the heat in a body and facilitating urination and bowel movement. The flower juice has the function of detoxifying the blood and solving acne problems. It can also be used externally for treating scorpion venom and rupture of the nipple. The juice can also be used as a harmless food coloring agent.
When we mention “Malabar spinach Ramularic leaf spot”, that’s what the Chinese spinach captured in the Li ziqi’s video is having.
There is however a high value of appreciation of Chinese spinach. Its purple stems and leaves, reddish flowers and purple-black fruits make it altogether quite loveable. It’s perfect for decoration in your backyard, windows on your balcony or the fences. It also has a high practical value as the leaves contain a variety of vitamins, calcium, and iron and can be cultivated as vegetables. It is one of the main plants for summer in the southern region. The taste is fresh and smooth. As a dish, it can be fried, boiled or served cold. Like edible tree fungus, it has a refreshing flavor, and it’s crispy.
As a kind of traditional Chinese medicine, the roots, leaves, flowers, and stem of Chinese spinach can be used as a medicine. It can be used as a mild laxative and has the functions of clearing away the “heat” in your body, detoxifying, and facilitating urination and bowel movement.
Most importantly, Chinese spinach has been a very important plant among all the purple plants for dyeing in China for thousands of years, as its juice is non-toxic.
Steps of making a cloak by Li ziqi on WEIBO
In the comments section of the video on WEIBO, Li ziqi explained how to make a cloak.
1.“The lamb wool that has just been cut off is actually not clean, so we need to first comb it with an iron comb, in order to remove the feces and weeds on the wool, then we have to soak the wool in a special wool-washing detergent and clean it repeatedly, until it becomes white and free of debris.”
2.“Wash the wool, dry it and tumble dry it. Take your steel brush and brush it back and forth, the wool top is formed to make the thread. But you’d need to adjust the thickness of the thread by yourself. For example, if you need thick wool, the thread is spun thicker. The two-in-one product becomes a finished yarn.”
3.“It takes a lot of wool to make this cloak. First it already took me one week to turn the wool into threads. Then, I spent two days on knitting and three days on doubling the thread. The rest of the process is to braid the thread according to different lengths. Finally, I do some simple needle sewing and crocheting, then sew it up after making the threads in sequence. All done!”
“It’s more efficient to make a scarf using this method. Only a few tricks to make a scarf.”
“If you have time, you can try it at home, and maybe you end up having fun with it for the whole day.”
“If you want to do it yourself, I’d rather recommend you to buy ready-made ones.”