Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Here the heads of the flowers are simmering away extracting what looks like a tea colored base. These flowers were red and orange only so we were fairly disappointed.
Add the yarn to one pot full- no mordant added.
Add roving to another pot- also no mordant. We did use vinegar after everything was said and done.
As happens so often with natural dyes, the end results are tea stain colored. Oh well. It certainly would have been easier to flip some Lipton's in the water rather than get shoes muddy and spend the time snipping and then picking off the heads BUT the experience was a good one and another to chalk up to experience. For a truly outrageous color- see below where we used Pokeberries. Now that color rocks and rolls.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Lots has happened in the month plus since I blogged last so I will make up for it with lots of pictures, okay?
The first thing to say is that for the last 7 months I have been in considerable pain from some mysterious thing happening to both my wrists and at times my thumbs. No, it is not carpel tunnel. No, I have not gone to a "real" doctor. Some may think this is foolish. I think it is wise at this point in time. I have my beloved Jerra who is way smarter than any "doctor". She is my compounding pharmacist. She has concocted a salve that only partially helps. I have concocted the other stuff that is just now starting to kick in to help a lot. It's herbal. It has an awful name that sounds like I am up to some sort of witchcraft- Cat's Claw or Una de Gato. It works. So for now, I do what I know to do which is herbs plus this, pictured above... and slow down on tennis and things that make my wrist and thumbs hurt.
Notice all the people flat out on their backs? This was a free clinic I went to to get in an extra session. I need to go and get into a routine until the inflammation and pain are completely gone. Needles are not just put into my wrists- they go in the tops of my feet, in the sides of my calves, and in both ears. It actually feels fabulous. No really. Try it sometime.
Okay- moving on.
Earlier this month was the annual "Hoes Down" celebration at Full Belly Farms in Esparto. The Yolo Wool Mill www.yolowoolmill.com had a tent set up for teaching purposes and to show off their beautiful wool products. Here is my daughter on the right teaching an interested young woman how to spin.
At the beginning of the teaching loop, there was a shearing demonstration which I always love watching. The sheep think the shearers are predators so they go totally limp which is a good thing, eh?
Here are the results of about a minute or a minute and a half's shearing.
I had to include a picture of this goat. I kept coming back to it to marvel at how bizarre this is! This is, to me, God's act of hilarity. It is The Triune Goat. Three in One. Holy, holy, holy! Brown, spotted, black. Different sections. Different functions. Different and yet all still goat. Glory to God.
Next, I want to show you the highlight of the magnificent new adventure I am on surrounding the glorious fun involving natural dyes. In our yard, a mysterious plant sprung up two seasons ago. At first we were horrified. It was something we had never seen before but that's not surprising really. It grew and grew and grew and soon made bright red berries that the mockingbirds devoured and then pooped out everywhere. My botanist brother did not know what it was and took a sample back to UC Berkeley where he teaches. I never heard back from him about "the mystery bush" as we named it.
The last step was to fire up the BBQ and to heat the wool to the magical temperature of about 115 F. Lower than the usual simmer. This apparently is critical as the color can be temperamental with heat.
Here are the glorious results. We unfortunately did not have the requisite 25 to 1 ratio of berries to fiber. Next year we will. The color is lovely, don't you agree? There is enough left over for another run or two. Will post more results as they come in.
The last thing I want to show you is my backyard garden. This spring we rototilled up all the Bermuda grass and planted veggies. Huge success. One section pictured above is now being prepared for a Dyer's Garden.
Here is how it looks today with the plots in place waiting for the compost and dirt. Fabulous.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
I have been busy dyeing and inventing and dyeing some more. Are you surprised?
One problem that I had been having is the Turquoise dye makes streaks on the silk if any portion of it is exposed to the air and dries. There is such low humidity here that this is a real and constant battle with this particular color. Even when I have it mixed with another color, it can and will do this at about the 20 hour mark. If I am diligent and remove the dye at the 15-17 hour mark, I can sometimes fend off the marks. If I am persistent in pressing down the plastic to keep air out then drying out is not a possibility and time is not a factor.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Anyway- here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HRzhXAIYJQ
This problem of poor results when dyeing comes up again and again in my Quilt University classes and total strangers, out of the blue, from all over the world, find me on the internet and ask what they are doing wrong so I thought I would run the video to help people over the first hurdles as well as do some advertising for Fabric Designs and QU as well.
The out takes were great. Someday I will show you a few of them. My favorite is when I didn't know the camera was still going and I was thinking about what I should say and how I should say it.....whoooohahha. It's "Crazy San Francisco Person" good, if you know what I mean.
Love you all. Anyone dyeing out there? I have about 80 belly dancing veils in need of dyeing coming my way. Wanna see? I'll take you along on the journey if you want to watch.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I posted a challenge to my Quilter's Palette class to see who has the biggest mess to contend with and while I always have huge amounts of awfulness all around me, I am sure that I am not alone in my crapulence.
My dye studio looks like I slaughtered a pig or did some sort of ritual sacrifice. It's gruesome if you don't know the truth of the matter.
I also have a large fabric painting I am working on that you cannot see in the photo.
It seems to me that the worse the mess, the higher the level of creativity and glee. Is this true for you as well?
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Our Yolo Arts Council has an Art/Farm program that is fabulous. A number of times each year, opportunities for artists to visit the farms with easels and cameras and paints are opened up allowing us to spend the day puttering or painting or pondering. The really sweet deal is that they reward our participation with a stipend for supplies with the hopes that in the fall, our creations will be a part of the Art/Farm art show.
Now I ask you, isn't this something you would participate in if afforded the opportunity? You can spend the morning in the fresh air, in peace and serenity, walking among fields and flowers and trees; occasionally chatting with another artist you come upon...drinking it all into your soul. Then you go home inspired and ready to make art having been paid to do what you would pay them to do? Win-win.
Above are the results of last month's flower dyeing of wool roving on the far left. Merino wool yarn is next to it that had a weak baking soda mordant added. Next to that are two examples of wool dyed in an olive brew that was made from olives that weren't quite ripe yet. We did not want to pick the olives so only allowed ourselves to gather fruit that were already on the ground. They were still pink or dark red- not black yet which certainly affected the final color.
Here is a photograph of the rows of fairly young trees where we gathered the fruit.
This is the wool in the dye bath. It made a nice medium brown.
Finished wool yarn with baking soda rinse.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
I have not been blogging, or much of anything except dyeing wool yarn (three kinds), felt, and flannel for publication on my blog as new products. Next posting will be all about this addition to the Fabric Designs line of art fibers.
Thanks for looking everyone!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
The Japanese way to take measurements and then create the patterns is fascinating. Putting the thing together is a mental fete at first. Quite a bit like origami actually. One wonders how the heck this thing is ever going to come together and then all of a sudden- bam!- there it is.
Above is a picture of the paper laid out to start drawing the pattern.
One other reason for making the smaller, less complicated vest is that most kimono have a seam up the back. Japanese fabrics in days of old were 36" wide or less, necessitating the seam. Also- it was thought that if there wasn't a seam, evil spirits could come "get" you. With this intermediate vest making step, I hope to see if there is a way to side step the back seam when I get to the bigger and more ambitious kimono. I see that I can do it now without a seam so that answers that question....Plus...I learned about Semori which literally means "back protectors". They keep the wearer from evil influences, not that I would need one, right? I like the thought that they would "have my back" but I have a Higher Power already doing that for me- can I get an amen, anybody?
All the pieces plus lining fabric cut. Now the sewing begins. It went fast and smoothly with only one seam needing ripping out and redoing. Not bad.
Monday, February 7, 2011
First, I hung up a large sheet of plastic and then put the silk on top of that and secured it all with some patio candles. It's very important that you use patio candles for this, by the way. It adds a certain- I don't know- excitement to the process because you don't really know if a great gust of wind will come up and take the whole thing down at any moment. You could use push pins but that would eliminate the element of surprise.
Finished it off with some Fuchsia Red poured VERY conservatively here and there. The dyes were allowed to pool at the bottom. The silk then sat for 2 days. The top part dried within 2 hours and the bottom part never dried. At this point, a big gust of wind DID blow down the top but I left it sitting in the very old dye on the bottom for another half a day before rinsing.
Monday, January 31, 2011
I only applied a small amount of dye this time- probably 1/4 of what was used in the first round
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