New Look

December 26, 2009

Dyeing for My Presents

Before Christmas I ground up some lichens, soaked them ammonia and water for about 3 weeks then put in a little bit of embroidery thread.  The color was intense and I was pleased as punch.  I divided up the liquor I got from the two bottles and added some silk ... fiber, ribbon and more thread. 
Yesterday I unwrapped my presents to me. 

These are the results of ribbon, fiber and the previous thread.  The initial thread is much darker and it came from the jar that held the rosey color on the left.  The brown orange liquor produced the lovely deep violet on the right.  Dividing the liquor of this jar and putting more ammonia and water in one did not make much of a difference.

The lighter shade below came from the lichen that turned red almost immediately when I added the ammonia/water mix.  After the thread experiment with that jar I added a little citric acid hoping to turn it more red. I got the antique rose color.

I also have some embroidery thread from all three of these jars.

Sorry for the fuzzys...Trying to use natural light and macrolens.  But the colors are lovely...even though I'm not much of a pink person.
I guess I have to decide what to use these for.  Mostly I dye with a specific project in mind but this was a special experiment for me. Not sure how light fast lichens are ... so they need to be in a particular project.  

December 25, 2009

Peace and Joy

From Our House to Yours
May Goodness and Joy Enter Your Threshold
And Peace and Happiness Enter Your Heart

I hope you enjoy this Season
no matter how or where you celebrate

December 20, 2009

Blizzard of '09

Well, it seems that everyone wanted a White Christmas and so it came.  We had almost 2 feet in the yard and the DH spent most of this afternoon working the snow blower to dig out my VW.  Can you find it?  It's white. 

My view this morning from my bedroom window was delightful.  It was still snowing. I love the season change viewed every morning as I get up.

But you really can't tell how much snow we got from these pictures.  You have to look down the deck and it's furniture.  This gives a better idea of what DH had to dig. 

On Friday night, while I waited for the snow to start, I placed a skein of silk thread in one of the lichen jars.  I let it sit until today.  No heat or mordant.  Initially it was smelly...old *strong* urine  (don't ask how I know)...phew!  But when it was rinsed I got this:

Really purple!  And...interestingly enough...the smell was gone and instead there was this earthy aroma that is wonderful.  So now it sits and drys.  I was so encouraged I divided up the two jars into 3 sections and added silk fabric, ribbon and two different weights of embroidery thread. 
Stay tuned....these will be unwrapped about Christmas.

December 13, 2009

Snow and Ice

There was snow fall and then it warmed.  But then it got really cold.  Not below zero cold but close to single digit cold.  So the snow melted and then it froze into ice.  On my way to work there is the only covered bridge in Rhode Island.  It was a lovely drive even though the roads were not plowed well.

Then today I took the dogs for a walk before the rain began.  The swamp or bog behind the house was mostly iced over but the tiny stream had crystal ice patterns on the edge that needed a close look.
I see lots of images in the ice...
Once it started raining however, I worked inside.  I wrapped Christmas presents.  I only need one more .. but I need it for several gifts that must be sent to California.  In the meantime, I've been soaking some lichen I found on a dog walk.  I let them sit for about a week then ground them up and soaked them in ammonia.

The one on the right immediately turned pinky red.  The one on the left soaked up all the ammonia and turned green-brown.  I added more ammonia two more times before it was slushy enough to stir.  It has sat and slowly turned brown....but  over the last 2 days it is more red brown. 
The one on the right is now a deep red while the left one is a brown red....I hope to see a barn red.  We shall see.   I now go back to do a little reading and find out what I do with a stinky ammonia colored solution.

December 2, 2009

Ten More

to go.  I worked on three more squares over the last weekend.  I also did other projects and ended up being too tired to post.  Well, first I ended up watching TV until midnight.  The DH turned on the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I wasn't going to stay up and watch.....truely...but once I got to singing along, I was lost.  And I didn't post.
But I had done some felting.  And I took pictures.
Dowingia is a small flower that I found in the Sierra's when I used to hike there.


I also have joined the Hand Embroidery Network.  Have you found this yet?  I have browsed through lots of wonderful examples of embroidery.  I even started in an on-line class for stumpwork.  We are making Irises and Poppies.  I have started my first project and will post the final pieces.
Christmas will demand some of my creative time and the quilt will most likely sit on the back burner. But I've starting to think about putting the squares together.  I post one more picture....poorly taken I'm afraid....but the squares are laid out on the bed  to give me an rough idea of what I've done so far.


November 22, 2009

To Tu Tumeric

I manged three pieces and some silk dyeing today.  I finished all my "obligations" yesterday .... well most of them.  You know the list...the bills, the laundry, the dog walking, the shopping, the dinner making, goes on and on .... doesn't it?  But today I got to do the laundry while I did felt.  YEAH!
I managed to dye some dark green pictures of that.  But it is darker colored for leaves and stems rather than background.  I need to start thinking about the green sections to connect the squares.  But I'm not quite there yet.
I did 3 pieces ... I also did some more drawings.  I came up with 3 more flowers.  But I just didn't seem to do the run as last time.  So I put them under the cutting board to decrease the paper curl and moved on to felting.  My favorite.

This was the silk lay out ... before felting.  I used the tumeric dyed silk as the background....with the green prefelt it was too much.  It really overpowered the flowers.  It will need some serious embroidery to save this one....and I really liked the design. 

It is too green overall.  I'm disappointed in how it turned out... sigh.
The next however was better.  I liked the way the yellow tumeric reacted with the red background
This is the layout.  Again the tumeric but this time the colors were bolder and the background was red.  Making the color a bit more lively.

I'm happier with this.  But with 20 to make...I'll most likely keep the  washout snow
drops but the Beebalm is obviously more lively.

The last piece is a trillium.  I'm afraid the color of the photograph is not a lovely as the real piece.  It is much deeper and more .... I don't know.... but the color is real.. I'm happy with this piece also.

Well, that's it for this weekend.  I wish you all a Happy Turkey Day....I only have Thursday off...but hope to do more felting the weekend after. 

November 15, 2009

Some Progress to Show

I'm back from Las Vegas.  It was a trip for a conference.....and since I'm a non-gambler (rather spend my pennies on silk and dye and wool and thread...well, you know) it was mostly lecture time.  I did a quick visit with my brother, his family and my youngest sister.  Always wonderful to visit family.  And they were wonderful as usual =-)
But, before I left I did some dyeing and some serious felting for my quilt piece.  I decided it worked so well and I spent less time  getting into the drawing to speak...that I just needed to set some time aside to draw several more cartoons.  These are Snowdrops, Trilium and California Pitcher Plant.

I also completed four squares for the quilt.  I was fairly pleased with that accomplishment.  It seems once the drawing is done I do work faster.

Wild ginger...with it's tiny flowers almost hidden under big heart shaped leaves were one of my finds on a wildflower search.  I would go camping with my dog and take several books, a camera and sketchpads.  Many times I would be gone a week or 2 only to return home to take a shower and do laundry.  The flowers were spectacular and I want the quilt to remind me of that quiet time.  No TV, radio, traffic noise, or even company other than the dog, the wild birds and the breeze.  I think the quilt will be a reminder to have sweet dreams.

The color turned out wonderful with the moss green prefelt and pale yellow green background silk.
Inspiration taken from one of my old Wildflower books.

Then my cartoon

I'm starting to cut most of these freehand now.  But used a single petal of the Paintbrush flower to guide me on size.

The colors of the flowers are also less flat and I tried to Fussy Cut  to add to their liveliness. of my favorites

Not sure about this last one.  I may have to eliminate it...The petals shrunk up too much and became too small.  I was on a roll so to speak...and I think I didn't plan out my shrinkage as well.

Blue-eyed Grass  which is only a bit taller than the wild grasses and the flowers do look like brillant blue eyes peeping up at you.
I also had a couple of dye pots going....and came up with this:

And this

They look wonderful next to each other.  I haven't cut them yet...perhaps they will fit one or two of the cartoons I have left from my whirlwind of drawing.  

November 2, 2009

I've Been Busy

So much has happened since my last post.  I realized that I haven't done much on the quilt and that November is here.  The heat is slipping away outside and although we recently has an almost 70F day here most mornings I wake up the temp is close to 40F.  The trees that just a week ago were full of leaves of color and now mostly dark lines against the grey sky. 

I took a dye class at ProChem.  I've been dyeing for a long time....since the 1960s off and on.  But I've never really spent time figuring out how it all happens.  For some silly reason starting to do natural dyes has made me curious about dyes in general.  I've been reading books about dyeing and even dreaming about dyeing.  I'm thinking seriously about doing an indigo vat.  But ...that may be a future post.

We had a wonderful time with this lady:

This is Vicki Jensen.  She is the Class Coordinator and Dyer Extroidinare at ProChemical and Dye.  She also happens to be a felter.  I think she is delightful....and a wonderful teacher.  She presented an organized class with even the math de-mystified under her tulaledge.  We did immersion dyeing
Then we thickened and painted

The results were wonderful.....even in the washer...

There was a rain storm that passed outside....but we made our own rainbow and hung it near the window when the sun came out.

I came home and loaded up the dye pot and went to work on the quilt this last weekend.  I had an exhausted dye bath every time!!  I was soooo proud of excess dye down the drain!  And I made a beautiful green background silk.

So then I finally worked on new squares for the quilt.  First I made 10 drawings.  It is the most time consuming part of the process.  I always have trouble deciding how I can cartoon the flower yet make it look enough like the actual bloom that it could .... ahem...kinda be identified correctly.   Some times I actually think I succeed. I'm hoping these two look like Itherial's Spear a type of wildflower found in the Sierra Nevada foothills during the dryer summer months.  Always a treat to find hiding in the grasses.

It needs some embroidery to finish up the details.  I still haven't decided if it is machine or hand embroidery I want to do.  I love working by hand, but machine may hold up better to use.
I also did Prairie Clover.  Driving through Texas...long ago...I remember seeing these.  I loved the purple colors.

So I also sat down and tried to figure out how many 'squares' I would need to finish my quilt.  OY...I have to make 40.  Yep....Four Oh.  It makes me a bit overwhelmed to think about it.  I guess I never stopped to think of how big a king size bed quilt really is.   LOL.  So now I have about 18 done and 7 more drawings.  I'm not sure I'll have it done for this winter...good thing we recent redid our heating system with a more efficient boiler.