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 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 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.