Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

Thanks for checking in. I work with the alchemy between cloth and plants when exposed to water and time. You can also catch up with my wanderings on my Facebook page Drye Goods Studio.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ivy Dye

When she planted it, it sounded like a good idea. A friend called the other day and asked if English Ivy made a dye and would I like some before she either A. Hosed it with a certain weed killer much in the news and not to be mentioned here-or B. Set it ablaze.

I went over armed with scissors and a laundry basket. I also took a mayonnaise jar in the event it had berries as according to Jenny Dean's Wild Color you can get color from the leaves and the berries. We spent about an hour hacking away at it and of course when we were done it looked like it was growing back as fast as we could cut it down.  

The berries needed to be mashed and soak overnight so I did the leaves first. I used one piece of fabric that I had already experimented on with roots from Hound's Tongue (not exciting, just several shades of beige) and one that had an alum pre-mordant. The bright green-yellow is the alum, the duller color of green is the one that had been dyed before.

The next day I looked in on the berry mash. Hard to tell what was going to happen in there, it looked very swamp like.

Well, it got interesting. I put in one piece with an alum pre-mordant and one plain piece. According to Dye Plants and Dyeing by John and Margaret Cannon, the alum treated one should have been a deep olive and the plain one should be a mauve. The berries can't be overly ripe for this apparently and these seemed pretty ripe. I did turn my back on the pot at one point and had a boil over. Temperature can be really important in natural dyeing, so this could explain the alum one being a very attractive shade of gray-blue and the plain one was pink, but very pale.

Next winter or early spring I will search for the berries when green and keep an eye on the temperature of the pot. It would also be interesting to do a post iron pot boil to see how it affects the colors, but that will have to wait for another time. I have a freezer full of ivy leaves, so I can do that anytime. Wow! All these colors from one plant!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Weeds and Such

"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them."
A.A. Mine

Knapweed dye on silk

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Burglary During the Night

We experienced a burglary and a bit of vandalism overnight. An intruder pried the lid off the compost bucket and removed the contents, spreading fermented vegetables hither and yon. The suspect is short, furry and believed to be wearing a mask. His feet are apparently covered in salad dressing.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sad News

Since I got dressed early this morning, well before I had heard that Prince had passed, I am not sure why I picked this particular one to wear. While not an uber fan of the guy, his music wallpapered my youth. His passing brought back many memories. I imagine him to be the type to not ever put off what he wanted to do on any given day, but he probably had much more he wanted to accomplish. Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Past Present Future

"We do not heal the past by living there; we heal the past by living fully in the present."
Marianne Williamson

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Wishing for a 48 Hour Day

I just could not get enough done yesterday-in a good way. The sun was shining and it was warm. A day for working in the yard. My son was here working the greenhouses and vegetable gardens with his dad and a friend. They got the hoses back out and the yard got the first hair cut of the season. Meanwhile, even though I am headed to Best of the Northwest in Seattle in a few days, I could not resist working in the yard. I discovered that most if not all the hollyhocks I planted last year have come back up. These are the dark red, almost black and they are great for eco printing.

I have seen some amazing eco prints using purple carrots, so I put the seed in the ground for those. I have no idea if it is permanent color or not-there is only one way to find out.

I planted more gourd seeds. They are a great art material to have around, they cut easily and accept stains and inks well. I like playing with a wood burning tool with them as well.

 I rearranged the "gourd farm" out behind the barn. Hopefully it won't be quite so hard to find them all this year if they take off up the old pallets and fencing. This is the hottest spot on the place, sun all day, so it is ideal for gourds. The ground is terrible though, so I used all the big pots and tubs I could find last year, but it was pretty random. It will be easier to manage with it all in a row.

Although what I am growing more for is probably beyond most people since this is the batch from last year.

If I hadn't run out of day I would have finished cleaning the perennial borders and washed the lawn furniture, among other things. Best to get on with the trip to Seattle, I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Morning Walk

I have been taking walks in the afternoon lately since it is a nice way to break up the day. By three o'clock I am pretty much spent. As far as the studio is concerned, I call the hours between three and five "the witching hour" in that whatever I am trying to do becomes possessed by demons. These malevolent spirits cause accidents that at the least waste materials and at the worst episodes that require a half a package of Band-Aids to stem the flow.

This evening I am hosting First Friday at Pottery Place Plus. Toni Spencer, one of my favorite fiber artists, is our guest for the month. She does stunning batik that you can see here. I will not have time later for my three o'clock walk as I will be driving into town to the shop. Don't worry-the late afternoon poltergeists don't seem to take over my driving skills.

This morning was so lovely I decided to share. 

The barn down the street

A robin

Another robin (look closely)

Inspiration for embroidery or quilting