Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coming of the light


I drink a toast to the coming of the light, to rising with a glorious sunrise, and to all the seasonal celebrations, happiness, peace, and light to you all...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Felting Fever




Here are some of the latest of my felting, felted flowers, and felted bead bracelet and felted bangles...I am really enjoying the felting process again, after many year hiatus, now it has returned, and so much fun...although it is work...
Today after days of rain the semi sanguinea shrooms are finally showing up big time. I have several drying trays full and this is the biggest pick this year. It seems very late but I believe it is because they need quite a wet season before they come to the surface, and we have finally hit their wet ratio, and it is touch and go as they don't like the frost, so we have a small window of picking them before the frost. Other years I have picked much earlier but it has been wetter earlier in those years also. I am always trying to figure out what secrets there are to knowing when they will arrive, but it is really just guessing at this point.
Two Xmas fairs, back to back, in the next few weeks, and that is keeping me busy, although I still want to make some new felt works, and do more shroom dyeing. So far it has been a terrible year for lobsters, which I love to dye with, but hopefully they still have a chance to show up, I am ever hopeful.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

feeling a little Peckii ish....




Just back from a mushroom forage on Vancouver Island North, and found lots of goodies..
have many pots of the stove, semi sanguinea, although a bit disappointed in the quantity, have cooked them up, added a little washing soda and have some sweet colors brewing as I write...the above photos, well, the hydnellum peckii were abundant, so I am ever hopeful for blues, but so far silvery grey, there were two types at least the one in the right phot0 top left. actually bleeding from the teeth, and these were the most abundant, and the teeth were beige brown, with light ring around the outside edge, the ones on the right of the right photo , looked very similar except the teeth were orange...and the ones on the bottom were tiny and I have gathered them before here on the island...now the mystery one for me is the photo on the left....it is toothed, with white, teeth, large stipe thick, and smooth dark almost black cap....what the ???? is it...some type of smooth sarcodon, I don't know , but I did gather it, and now am researching to find out what I can, so if anyone knows this shroom please let me know, and if it is a dyer, that would be wonderful, and if it dyes other than beige, that would be more wonderful...I have sent the photos to Dorothy Beebee, shroomer extraordinaire, and so hopefully I will find some more info about it. It was wonderful to be in a new woods, after 20 km on a logging road, and then hiking where it was all new territory, and there were so many mushrooms everywhere. We are surrounded by chanterelles, and boletus of every variety, and the wonder of it is that they were not all bug eaten, and that there was hardly any deer scat, which was very noticable... here on our small island, I guess there just isn`t enough for the deer and bugs to eat so the shrooms we gather here are often sampled by both...
where we went is supposedly two weeks ahead of mushroom growing than we are, so I am looking forward to more shrooms here, although the frost is approaching. There is a definite lack of lobster mushrooms this year and I wonder if they go in cycles, as I found none on our trip either...so I have three pots cooking, one with peckii, one with sanguinea, and one with chanterelle soup, they all look delicious to me...lol

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Because I FELT like it





































The return of the felt, after a 15 year hiatus, has come back with a vengence...I am loving felting again and thankfully I hadn't sold all my felting wools, or washboard or mats, as I had continued to make boas over the years, but now I want to make everything...I love being obsessed with fibery goodies...and even though my back is l5 years older it seems to be able to handle this new work....here are are photos...







These need to be clicked on for a better view, but these are two partial boas, with long long wensleydale locks from England, and they are narrow with locks on either end...and some silks embedded in the main black scarf...The brown one is natural locks and one side is covered in the locks and it is felted with half breed and merino base with silk gauze embedded in between the layers to keep it from stretching out...I always put the silk in to stabilize the length....The top two are a wrap that looks quite elegant on, but doesn't really photograph well, do to well, the photographer, that would be me, and because I don't have an extra body here at the moment...but you get the picture....






and the rocks, well just couldn't resist, living on an island with an incredible amount of rocks, some just called to have felt coats put on them, so there they are, snug in their felts....they are so handleable....I always thought painting rocks was sacrilege, but apparently I don't think felting over them is the same thing...so there we have felted rocks....and olives,well it was a natural evolution from rocks apparently lol....


and last but not least the Vessel.....well thanks to nicole clasheen, an irish felter who is so generous of spirit she guided me through her technique, we have the vessel. The "all day vessel" as I like to call it, as it practically took me all day to get it stiff enough to stand on its own, but it is beautiful to behold, and I haven't even embellished it yet, so I am thrilled....next I am on to some nuno felting...with the help of nicole, and elizabeth of StudioFelter, in Australia, so my felting return is being fostered internationally...so so lucky...and of course there has been the usually natural dyeing.
More Polypores are soaking as we speak, and I have the bottom half of the fridge filled with premordanted fibre ready to dye at any moment. Have been going out a few hours daily, and the rains have finally shown up here, and we have even eater some white chanterelles, and saw my first Lobster mushroom just yesterday, so we are slow here compared to other places at this time of the year but it is an island, which is virtually a rock, so the rains take awhile to penetrate and get the mycelium running... so I have much to look forward too. Felting with mushroom dyed organic merino is the next venture, just after doing two xmas shows....so life is good, dh is semi retired and loving mushrooming and mossing and the sky is clear today...so back to felting...
























Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Woad at last





Finally a success story with the woad plants, and this was their second picking....I started with three quarters of a gallon jar packed with leaves and poured boiling water over them ...then followed the recipe it Rita Buchanan's book which seemed clear and simple....famous last words...then after soaking the leaves for an hour, I squeezed them out and saved them. At this point the water did not look hopeful , very pale, and distant memories, or "second cuttings being inferior" kept surfacing....but perseverence furthers, and I kept going...added 1 tablespoon of ammonia, being out of washing soda, and then began to pour it back and forth between two buckets, as soon as I added the ammonia, things began to darken and look up, and the pouring resulted in bluish green foam, now things were really looking up...so then added the 1 Tablespoon of thiox, and let it be in 100-120 degreen fahrenheit water bath, for l hour, and the above results happened, it turned this light yellow, actually a bit more yellow than the photo, I had added one fifty gram skein of 50/50 silk merino, and l skein of brushed mohair....then left them for 20 minutes. The upper right is after one dip, and then let air for 20 minutes and back in for twenty which are the ones on the left....
so there we have it ...well almost, as in the meantime, I had boiled the left over leaves of woad, and added one skein of mohair to the bath, and got a lovely pale rose, so then I just added more to the bath, and put the leaves in a nylon bag with the next ones, so see if I can get even more rosy a color...I am almost more fond of the pinks than the blue...personal preference, but so fun to be getting blue from the garden, and from a second cutting...yippppeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

OMG ess

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/arts/design/23spiders.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&emc=eta1 Found this on another site and it is very amazing....hope you enjoy

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pining for Sarcodon







Well the pic on the left is my rather beige hawk wing, sarcodon, which apparently was not found under a Pine tree, which is why it is yet again, a lovely shade of beige...lol...apparently the sarcodons which there are a few types, often give this beige, unless they are the correct type which is found under Pine trees...as I did not pick these or know this, I was ever hopeful for blue, alas, my search continues....
now the one next to it, the orange beige in the same photo, is coreopsis flowers, soaked way tooo long, but lovely in spite of myself... the sweet buttons of shrooms on the top are the sulfur tufts hypholoma fascicular, which I will be returning to pick tomorrow...They are such a lovely clear yellow dye producing shroom...
and the other two photos, are the phaeolus schweinitzi, or dyer's polypore, or butt rot, and these are quite the array of colours...the brightest yellow was from young ones chopped and soaked and then brought up to heat and then let sit overnight, strained, then wetted wool added, then again brought up to heat and taken off and sat overnight...so gold, the brightest yellow yet, the duller one beside it, was from older specimens, and cooked too long I think..."they" always say that with yellow you can dull it by boiling, perhaps this is why it is dull or perhaps it is the fact it is older, its a "crap shoot" so I am guessing...
the wonderful greens are all from the same phaeolus, but with a titch of iron and cot added after they were cooked...like 1/4 tsp, ferrous, and 2 tsp of cot...insta greens which I love....this could be one of my favourite polypores but I am a novice so who knows what is awaiting for me out there...and if it rains I will be out there again.....I do love the lobsters and cortinarius...I have many bags of cortinarius dried from last year, but am saving them until I have this years stash...
so the rains are coming I hear...and we are waiting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hawks wings flying

Look what arrived at my house today, Sarcodon Imbricatus, (hawk's wing) noted for its blue wool dyeing capabilities...ever hopeful..after reading several articles and Leena's blog and Ravelry posts on the subject, it sounds like a veritable crap shoot, but Carole said she had luck with it as long as it is older, and cooked with high ph, right from the start, so I have them in the pot, and wool and silk is mordanting, and tomorrow the big test. Will it be green or blue, or greenish blue, I am definitely hoping for blues and I will post. Have been finding a lot of dyer's polypores, and am experimenting with that and getting some lovely greens etc...and sages and now am only picking the very young and will see what that gives....so I will post pics manana...the sun is out it is 25Celsius and life is sweet...if only shrooms would come out in the sun that would be a perfect world...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Black Eyed Susan , Return of the Butt Rot

Return of the Butt Rot, Phaeolus Sweinitizii, 2009.
This was my first venture into the woods in quite some time, as my foot has been f......! unfortunately, but today, managed a forage and voila, Butt Rot. It was a young, spongy, still vibrant butt rot, and so I chopped it up, put it into a pot of hot water, cooked it for several hours, strained, and added the above silk/wool, and kid mohair, both which were unmordanted. It turned a lovely yellow, but who needs more yellow, not I apparently, so I let it soak, not cooking the wool for several hours, then lifted the wool, added one quarter teaspoon of iron, with l tsp of cream of tartar, which is suppose to even out the iron results, and it turned a wonderful green almost immediately...Left it for an hour or so, then rinsed...I do have alkaline water at 8 and so this does influence my dyeing..I just use it anyway , and allow for that alkalinity, not being a purist it doesn't matter to me, and it is easier for me out of the tap...not that I am doing a research paper on this subject so 8 alkalinity is okay for my needs...so if using this recipe you might want to take this into account...or not....

]phaeolus schweinitzii....fresh picked and more to come as we found young ones budding forth at the base of other fir trees

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fall is falling

Waiting for the rains, and the mycelium to start running and gathering of mushrooms for dyeing...so far nothing to pick and dye with but this was some tussah silk I had dyed with sanguinea mushrooms last year and then I plyed it with some large loop mohair...so sweet. Not much on the dyeing front, as life is just starting to settle in after a mad summer of markets and wool sales and working. This was a great year for wool sales, and I had lots of admiration for the natural dyed yarns. Have done some woad dyeing lately and if I could find the damn files I would post some pics.... the woad was a success, although somewhat finicky, I did get some lovely blues. It was the first time I had dyed with woad from my own garden, and I did about l2 plants, I followed the instruction in Jenny
Dean's book on Natural Dyeing, and did try to do the after bath with the left over leaves but to no avail, and no color. I will post when I find the woad pics until then I can almost hear the mycelium awakening.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where did summer go?

One moment we are planting carrots and in a blink we are eating them, and harvesting the tops for dyeing, and here are the results...carrot tops on mohair boucle...loving the clarity of the soft green. Did an alum and COT modant, then left overnight in the mordant, rinsed squeezed and added to the dye pot, which was cooked carrot tops that then had sat for a few days and then strained...and voila after 30 minutes of simmering this lovely color. I had remember that I had liked the carrot tops last year but didnt save a sample card...and this year I vow I will keep notes and cards with colors and info on it, as the only data I seem to be able to keep is this dye journal. and I have yet to save anything on the computor, so next is learning to save, and hard copy of samples...
The other is tussah silk, dyed last fall in semi sanguinea mushroom juice and then I spun and plied it with a mohair boucle. It is very soft and friendly and soothing looking. Dyeing season is definitely upon us and the harvest of food is also.
Summer seemed to be a blink of the eye, what with market, working and then I had a gourd show last week and sold everything, which was fabulous, but summer seemed like a moment. Last night I dreamt of mushrooms, so perhaps soon the rain with come and it will be time to go into the woods again.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Righteous Rain



And the rain is coming down, for the last two days and the garden is loving it, so are my woad plants which seem to be developing quite nicely. I also have flowering weld plants that are very elegant looking, and this is my latest dye bath. Acid dyes again as I had someone wanting silk, and silk/cashmere in those colours, so I went for the pink and orange shades. I am getting ready to dye some woad, just have to get my courage up as I haven't done that before and also I am still using my eucalyptus dye pot. Eucalyptus, the plant that just keeps giving, and the wool and cashmere smell wonderful. Have been doing the market and job and times are busy, the summer rush is upon us and I know fall is a blink away. I am already thinking of the mushrooms I hope to find and am almost ready to dye with the semi sanguinea I have been saving....feel like I want this years in hand before I use up all of last year, somewhat obsessed perhaps.
Seems that I won't be posting as often this summer as I haven't the time, but I love that I have this dyer's journal as I found some silk I had dyed and not marked and it was a wonderful shade of green, and voila, I looked it up and it was in this journal, apparently polypore and iron were the culprits to obtaining the green, must do that again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting Wild

Just read Jenny Dean's post, she being the famous natural dyer, author of many wonderful well researched books on dyeing naturally, and she has asked her publisher to reprint "Wild
Colour" and they have decided not to do it at this time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! excuse me, like this isn't the hottest time to reprint such a book, are they crazy? not informed? not aware of how many people are into natural dyeing and how many more are becoming interested each day....so the request is to email: david.lamb@mitchell-beazley.co.uk and ask or beg, or plead our case for a reprint...this book is invaluable, and not only that but I only have a borrowed copy, and I would love to own one for my collection...I have two others by Jenny Dean and they are definitely worth having for reference. So help a great cause and send an email to the above and maybe we can get this reprinted if they receive enough requests...the power of the fibre field....onward and upward.
On another topic, I have been to market and now am marketing two days a week and working two days, so not too much time for blogging. Summer time and the living is easy...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

its not a yarn but a fish story


Here is what I have been doing lately, I am back into the gourds with a vengence...and finally my wrist is letting me carve and work with gourds again, this is the latest salmon spawning on mosaic pebble creek bed...get the picture lol....and it is a lamp. I have only been wool working at night and seem to have enough dyed for the summer galleries so am shifting into the gourd world for awhile..I will keep posting but if you are looking for natural dyed yarns they are being labelled.. ready for sale. and the lamps are being made for the local galleries and a few shows. I love carving into the gourds, and pebble hunting, not difficult being as I live on an island, and then doing the mosaics all very fun and very hard compared to the soft comfy fibre. I think that is why the wool was so conducive to healing my wrist and the comfort of the soft fibre and the softness and the lightness is more appealing the older I get. but I am still working on the gourds, and gardening and working.....and life keeps moving on.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

hyperbolic hyperactivity




Lilacs bountiful, garden flowering and I am currently obsessed with the crochet coral reef and the hyperbolic crochet which was demonstrated in the show...such wonderful work and that set me off on the crochet path for the past several weeks. Plus with summer kicking in not much time for the blogging...so here are a few pics to suffice...and hopefully I will know what to do with all the pieces of the new obsession, right now it is just enough to make them, haven't really established how I will put them together..so guess I could say I was crocheting for an assemblage. That would be vague enough. So happy gardening and will post more pics in the new future....dh picked that beautiful bouquet of lilacs, and a beautiful white bouquet last week...the house is smelling wonderful.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Great Scott, Cape Scott

We have had a bit of spring camping and the weather was wonderful, right up at the top of Vancouver Island...Camping at San Joseph Bay, and before that at Fair Harbour...and no rain, in fact sun. So little in the way of fibre..my head was full of shooting stars, skunk cabbage, magnificent trees, and way too dry firewood. Hard to imagine that fir bark left outside on the west coast would be bone dry for firewood. Unheard of, and now even I am hoping for rain. It is extremely dry here and apparently even the west coast.
Let the rains begin.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring has sprung....


Stepping out this morning my dh said it smelled like spring, and it did, finally....and we were out gathering moss, and looking for mushrooms, but this is the driest spring that I recall.. all the swampy areas are dry this year, which does not bode well.

Did a lot of eucalyptus dyeing and then realized I had quite a few semi sanguinea left over dried, so I made a pot and soaked them for a few days with straight water, somewhat high in alkali as that is what my well produces. The liquid was a lovely deep color, so I strained it then put in three skeins : l silk/wool, l cashmere, and l silk/cashmere. All three had been mordanted at the same time in alum and COT ,I put all three in at the same time, and brought up to a simmer, and turned off immediately and let sit and cool in the bath..

the results were somewhat amazing. I usually find that silk sucks up the colors quickly and deeply but this time the cashmere was the big color suck...and then the silk and wool, and silk/cashmere. Don't really know why the cashmere seemed to pick up the most orange. I don't know whether you can discern it from the photo, the middle one is the cashmere and the silk/wool, on the far side and the cashmere/silk on the near side.....quite a surprise.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Eucalyptus rules







I am sooo impressed with the generosity of the eucalyptus leaves...I had seen some going for a display and asked for the branches when they were through with them and voila, beautiful silk and wool, not to mention the smell in the house...very fragrant. I took the leaves and just soaked them for a few weeks, and then the color of the water was so deep rust and then placed some silk/merino which I had previously mordanted with alum and COT, and just let it sit in the bath for an overnight, and that is the single skein, almost dried...the other is two more skeins that I have soaking in the strained eucalyptus water...I love the color they came out and keep adding more water to the leaves and it seems it is endlessly putting out more color. So I am soaking more leaves. Also have some cherry bark soaking and it is putting out color already. I will try that as soon as I have more mordanted wool finished, and the garden planted...\



I did plant some woad seeds today, which I had received from Kirkoe in Germany, and have some lovely little weld plants in the garden which have spread all over the place. I am concentrating on more plants for dyeing, and will make a plot for them so I can keep track of them in the garden. It is a wonderfully springy day today, and the doors are open and the sun is shining.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hummers are humming

Here are a few quickie dye batches with acid dyes as I have to squeeze the dyeing in between spring planting and garden clean up ....so these sweet colors were done with the microwave and have yet to be spun.
Spring is happening, although cold, and even snow on parts of the island today, very freaky....
and have tried to find some mushrooms but too early, and too cold. I have some silk/cashmere soaking in mushroom bath, of semi sanquinea, and some soaking in Eucalyptus, and also am experiment with some wild cherry bark. I harvested it off some trees that came done this winter on our land, and so will see what I can get with that. Have found some good data in Jenny Deans "wild colours" dye book, and so have it soaking for now. Can't believe spring is out there happening and it is still too cool to be out there or too rainy or windy...I am missing some of my favourite season, even though I get out daily it is not enough..usually we can work outside at this time of year. However I was spinning on the deck yesterday until the wind carried my roving off the deck.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

extreme sheep led art

This is a definite must see, unfortunately couldn't copy the url...but if you go to youtube and put under search, :extreme sheep led art..you will see one amazing demo of sheep and led and dogs, all producing the most stunning video....a must to see....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

spring forward

Here are a batch of the latest springy colors....the pinkish ones are cashmere/silk, and merino in the semi sanguinea mushrooms, dried then cooked strained and added some ammonia to pink it up...taupe one is eucalyptus cashmere, the silver is baby stinging nettle, which was a surprise, and the orange is the paramelia sulcata lichen found on downed branches, which I soaked, cooked strained and voila...it is a bit less orangy but still a wonderful color...
and now out for another walk to collect, I mean, stroll through the dye shop of mother nature...
It does make walking even more of an adventure, if not a little graspy, as now when I walk everything looks like a potential dye product. The herring are spawning here now, so the sea life, eagles, sea lions etc. are bountiful, and of course there will be nettles, and lichen, and some dyeing later.
Jenny Dean has a great clear, concise, post on mordanting with Alum and it is worth a look, as I have just made a batch of liquid alum and it is so easy...and now I just pour for 400 gm of wool, 400 ml of liquid alum mixture....voila done... do this dones make it quick and doable...here post on it is very clear...i.e. tsp. which I love, and also the post on her dyeing cochineal and logwood is great. She is such an inspiration.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Curative Cashmere

And here are the results of yesterdays modified skein.....that would be the centre one and it definitely has three colors subtle but not as subtle as the photo...I am thrilled with the results. The skein above, was dyed in the exhaust of the semi sanquinea, and then put iron into it, which gave a beige, one of the many beiges I have learned to love, sort of, and the skein to the right is the Cashmere Cure...that would be cashmere that was premordanted in alum and COT and then put into a strained eucalyptus dye bath....and of course if you buy this, you won't get a cold, you can just wrap it around your neck and snort the eucalyptus vapors which are amazing....I figured if the sea silk is said to help your bones with the calcium ? ( that;s what they say) then here is the cure for the common cold...straight from the alchemists dye pot...lol The colour is amazing, is has a greenish/khaki tone to it and it smells wonderful. Will definitely do this again, and try with some modifiers... so thanks to Jenny Dean and her modifying tricks, her books are also very informative and a great natural dye source...and she is now dyeing with fungus, so I can't wait for the next book.....its like having personal researchers, between Leena and Jenny, they are both very articulate and do great research and note taking, unlike myself, who tends to be way too spontaneous, and never strives to duplicate, so I can certainly appreciate the work these women do....and hope some rubs off on me...I do take notes, but am not really a researcher unfortunately, but there is room for all types in this kind of work...and I do love the gathering and the alchemy involved....like magic getting all these different results...but no book from me in the near future that's for sure...lol

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Modified Mushroom Moments


Today was an experiment that hopefully will give good results. I had read in Jenny Dean's blog, this process of modifying with different mordants post dyeing...so here is what I did...with the appropriate picture...can't believe I actually took one of the process, usually I think of that when the process is finished and it is too late. The fibre, silk/merino 50/50 was alum and COT mordanted and then left overnight, actually two nights then rinsed and put in a bath of strained and cooked semi sanguinea mushrooms which I had dried last fall. about a quarter of a baggie (sandwich bag) which I then squished and cooked then soaked and cooked some more, then strained in fine cloth, and entered the mordanted fibre, then cooked for about half an hour, just below simmer...then removed the skein and poured out two bowls of the dye water,(hot) and into one added vinegar (on the left) and the other washing soda....and suspended the middle of the skein above the two bowls, as Jenny suggested, so it does not wick into the yarn...hopefully it will give me three shades of mushroom dyed yarn...so far it definitely looks like two shades, as the washing soda made an instant difference....wonder what a dip in iron would do....oh, that will be for tomorrow....so right now they sit as in the photo, and will leave them perhaps overnight...and take a photo of the skein tomorrow for show and tell..If I could get three distinct tones I would be thrilled as I like the multi colored skeins and usually with the natural dye I have to mix extracts to get multi colors, this should be subtley beautiful.....eternally optimistic...i remain... I actually mordanted about 6 more skeins of cashmere, and silk and cashmere and so far three hours later, have resisted the temptation to dye them all...usually as soon as I mordant I can't wait to dye so as a result the idea of having premordanted fibre waiting to be dyed is a joke around here...I am amazed I have actually waited two hours...no matter how many pounds I premordant it is never enough....what's with that? lol

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

spring colors

Well here are the latest acid dyes, and I am springing forth into lightness...I just had to do some quick microwave acid dyeing as I wanted an instant hit and had no mordanted yarns ready and this is the result..if you enlarge the pics by clicking on them the real colors will explode. Color is such an amazing meal...it fills the soul and the eyes, and as I mentionned at the guild meeting today, it is almost orgasmic...and I just hang it by the woodstove and love looking at the yarns and roving...and then walk into the other room and return to feast my eyes again...I guess I have a serious color addiction.
and talking to a friend of our obsessions today, and wondering about the balance of it all...seems I would rather be handling fiber and dyeing and spinning and collecting plants, than doing anything else, almost. and it isn't the money that it brings in, but certainly the sales allow me to buy more fibre and make more colors, and so the sales are important but not why I am doing it....I am definitely a fibre addict and there are many of us out there. I wonder where the drive comes from to be so obsessed with dyeing, spinning, and collecting plants. It is certainly embedded deeply in our souls and must be some kind of deep genetic impulse that is at work. I am always thinking of the fibres, what I will do next, how I will process, how important that is in the grand scheme of things...etc etc. and there are so many of us out there!
so the pondering go on, as I plan for another spin session, and have a pot dyeing on the stove as I write, and wonder how I will store the next bundle of fibre...and find balance in my life....



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Variations on Obsessions




Here are my lates obsessions the past few weeks...the knitted neck warmer which I got off of the net I love....it is 50/50 silk/merino, so soft, and keeps my neck warm as well as hiding those double chins...what more could you ask?
The walnut dyed wool is a combo of brown merino, and blue face tops and they were plyed and are lovely and soft....I loved the walnut dyeing and will do more next year....and then as I was starving for brilliant colors some acid dyed superwash merino and I micro dyed them after I had skeined them off a cone in 50 gram skeins...I hadn't done any acid dye for quite awhile and the drab winter weather just had me reaching for it. and the colors were fun to play with so I am quite happy with the colors and have been spinning some roving from it also.... Never say never...like"I'll never dye with acid dyes now I have rediscovered natural dyeing" but I didn't give all my acid dyes away so I must have known that I would be using them again....
I do love all the natural dyeing but a hit of brilliance is fun also...Not that you can't get brilliance with naturals but it was quick and fun to do...
I am learning how to spin fat yarns again...which is always a challenge as it entails slowing down the spinning wheel...and that mean paying attention as I am quite a quick person naturally, and so the meditative spinning is a challenge. My friend Judy does this type of spinning because if you are going to be selling, you don't want to spend hours doing a fine yarn and get the same price if you spent a half hour spinning thick yarn...also people love the thicker yarn and sales for that are good...especially using the tops as they are incredibly soft and I am doing 85 grams, and getting about 110 metres of fibre and it is a good practice after spinning for over thirty years to try something different.
Have more yarns mordanting and will be doing some dried carrot tops next week, as the well is high now, so have to take advantage of lots of water...


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

noxious weed!! sweet

Well here are my latest dye jobs, and here is the noxious weed, japanese knotweed, which apparently has endless varieties, this being one called polygonum cuspidatum, and apparently is an incredibly invasive weed, and grows in one spot here on the island in noxious abundance.I harvested these gigantic leaves last fall, and dried them, and here is the wool from that, it is the one skein on the left, premordanted with alum and cot, and then dyed ..a wonderful tone, and the two on the right of that are done with the dermocybes, (semi sanguinea) same mordanting as above...I almost like the one on the left more, as it is stronger in color, but perhaps in need to do the mushroom dyeing with more shrooms to really compare...they have more pinkish tones, and did add extra ammonia to them to pink them up some...although my water is very alkaline, I added even more, and they went pinker.
so that is the latest, although I did get a great tip, from renaissance dyer on ravelry, from France with a great blog, www.renaissancedyeing.com named Andie and she has a great site for natural dyeing and awakened me to cold mordanting with alum, which I will try with my BFL tops as they seem to get to compacted with the hot mordant then dyeing process, so I am going to cold mordant them and save at least one stage of heating and hopefully maintain its loftiness.
I like that lofty word. I did a little acid dyeing this week, just about blew my eyeballs away with its brightness. I forgot how brilliant they can be, but messy really messy, and have to do it outside and pay attention and its chemical and sometimes I just crave its instant color... I am such a "color ho".. lol