Sunday, August 30, 2015

Salsa!

Yesterday was a good day to harvest tomatoes and peppers from our garden.  I got over 5 lbs. of orange tomatoes!  These are roughly baseball sized fruits and taste wonderful!  I chopped everything up and made salsa.  The photo above shows everything except the 4 cups of onion in my pasta pot.  That was when I realized I needed a bigger pot and brought out one of my big applesauce pots!

Here it is already to cook (in the bigger pot!).  As I filled canning jars I was asked, "Have you tasted it?".  True to form, I hadn't!  We tasted some right then and declared it good! Whew! I do love the bright orange color that these tomatoes give to the salsa!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Lichen Dyeing

lichen


This is a summary of my first experiment with lichen dyes.  I scraped the lichen (a flat, blue-green lichen that is common on our maple trees here) off the wood with a knife, then let it soak in a 50:50 ammonia:water bath for 6 weeks.  I used a few tablespoons of the ammonia/lichen concentrate in ~2 cups of water to make a dye bath and inserted a mini-skein of border leicester wool yarn.




Dye on left, concentrate on right.  Dyed mini-skein on ball of un-dyed wool.




The result?  A very pale, unsatisfying yellow. The dyed mini-skein is on top of an un-dyed ball of the border leicester yarn in the picture.  The mini-skein did not take up much color.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dress Stand

This week I am getting ready to take new art to my local gallery.  I have to make sure that I get all my tags made and everything labeled right.  I also have to make sure I have all my display props ready.

I'm the only fiber artist currently at the gallery.  They do a really nice job of displaying wall art and sculptural pieces.  They aren't so good with the textiles.  

I decided that I needed a dress form to use to display my scarf.  Have you ever priced dress forms?  Ai-yi-yi!  They can be expensive!

Thankfully, we have an antique store in town.  The owner let me buy this beauty for just the right price...as a way to support the art gallery!  If you are looking for an antique store to visit, come to Crawfordsville and visit "La Rose on Main" (she's on Main street).
 And then, come visit Athens Arts (on Washington St.) and see how this lovely dress stand is being used.  The new art will be up on Aug.1st.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Natural Dyes--Rhubarb Roots

I've been working with plant materials as dye stuff.  My main resource is "Wild Color" by Jenny Dean.  It includes an reference for dyeing with the roots from the rhubarb plant.  My rhubarb plants went to seed last year and I have a number of unexpected new plants in the yard.  So, I decided to remove one older plant and experiment with it as a dye source.

Of course, I harvested the rhubarb first, and got rid of the leaves.  Then I dug up the roots, washed the dirt off them, and cut them into small pieces.  The roots were a strange texture--very spongy!  

The dye was prepared two different ways.  #1.the tea method.  Pour boiling water on the roots and let them steep overnight.  Use the liquid as the dye stuff.  After dyeing, dip in an acidic solution (vinegar works great).  The resulting color--pale yellow.  #2. the boil method.  Place the roots in a pot with water and boil them for 30-60 minutes.  Remove the roots and add wool fibers to the pot.  Return to a simmer and cook for about an hour.  Dip the fibers in a basic solution (ammonia) after dyeing, and the color turns a pale pink.

For both of these, I used approximately equal weight of fresh dye stuff to prepared wool fibers (Falkland wool roving).

Rhubarb roots and dyed Falkland wool.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Exploring Sunprints and Baskets

I haven't been doing too many big projects at home lately.  I've been working and, surprise!, am tired at the end of the day!  I did have some time off this week and tried my hand at some new things.

Baskets.  On the left is a "coiled basket" made from handspun yarn wrapped around a cotton core.  I must admit that I really tried to avoid making a coiled basket.  I didn't want to!  It was sure to be painfully slow!  Well, it wasn't terrible and I may even make another one of these days!  On the right is a woven basket.  Both warp and weft are handspun yarns.  This basket is just big enough to be used as a doll hat for a Barbie (my daughter tested it for me!).  It's a soft basket and flexible.  I'm not sure how well it would stand up if it were bigger.  I may try again on this type of basket too!


Here is a piece from one of my other experiments:
This was a piece of off-white muslin that was painted with a wash of acrylic paint and had paper snowflakes set on it.  The whole thing was placed in the sun to dry.  Apparently, as the cloth around the snowflakes (or other object like leaves or flowers) dries it wicks the paint and water from the covered areas, leaving a "sunprint".  I haven't decided how to use my printed fabric, but I think it looks cool!


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Experiments--socks and egg biscuits--and a Wooden Quilt

Years ago I spun a variegated purple roving into a two ply yarn by splitting down the middle to make two similar yarns.  I thought that I was going to make mittens, and I tried once!  But the mittens were ripped out and the yarn has sat in my stash for a long time!  I decided to try some toe up socks with the yarn and I had just enough!


These were knit from Wendy D. Johnson's Toe-up Socks book, and if you look closely at my toes you can tell that I didn't follow the pattern very well!  I'm not a big fan of toe up socks.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's just because I don't have much experience with them.  At any rate, given how little yarn I had, I knew that toe-up was the way to go.  I'm pleased that they worked...I'm still not a fan of the technique.


Here's another experiment....eggs in a biscuit.  For those of you familiar with Scotch eggs (hard boiled eggs in sausage), this is the same idea, but with a biscuit around the egg.  The idea was from one of my co-workers....she was super excited to try this with soft boiled eggs.  I don't like runny yolks, so I used medium boiled eggs.  The end result...they were yummy, but not yummy enough to make them every day!  They were a lot of work!



And, lastly, a hearty congratulations to one of my associates at Athens Art Gallery.  Ben Wilson is a woodworker at the gallery and was commissioned to make this quilt from wood.  It is beautifully done!  If you are local, it is on display at the gallery for most of April.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Coverlet repair, Sampling, and Transparency

I received a surprising phone call the other day.  A woman had seen my work at the Athens Arts Gallery and was looking for a weaver's opinion regarding some family heirlooms.  We set up a time for her to come over and this is one of the things she brought--a piece from a coverlet that her great-grandmother had woven!

Even more amazing to me than the beautiful weaving was the repair job.  Do you see the faded blue rectangle in the middle of the photo?  It is a patch that was sewn onto the coverlet. ~The weaving studio at Conner Prairie recently had a reproduction coverlet that needed repair and this type of repair is precisely what we were discussing.  So amazing to see it in person! 

I've been doing some sampling for a blanket.  The weave structure is M's and W's and is from Carol Strickler's Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns.  The cool thing about these samples is that by turning the tie-up, I was able to change where the floats appeared.  In the sample on the right, the floats are in the colorful stripes.  In the middle sample, the floats are in the cream stripes.  On the left, the floats alternate in a checker board pattern from colorful to cream and back.  Unfortunately, I think that the floats are too long and need to go back to the sample warp and try again.  (On the one hand, I'm disappointed.  On the other hand, I'm grateful that I'm learning this now, and not after I put on two blankets worth of warp!)
  
The pencil is under one of the floats.

And, lastly, here is a transparency sampler that I just finished.  The background warp and weft are 40/2 linen set at 30 epi.  The pattern weft is 8/2 cotton.  I used a cartoon under the warp to help me make the pattern shapes. --Check out all the snow visible through the window.  Spring has arrived since I took this photo and that is all gone and instead, I have crocuses blooming in my sunny front yard!  Hooray!  Hooray! Hooray!