Eucalyptus – What’s in the dye?

December 17, 2016

I’m so excited about this blog post because we have tons of eucalyptus around us!

Natural Dye: Experiments and Results

Eucalyptus is not native to where I live but I have watched dyers (with a bit of envy) from other parts of the world use these plants as a source of color and tannin. Each year I grow a plant or two for experimentation. These experiments have led me to some interesting observations.

The variety commonly found at our local garden center is Silver Dollar Gum (Eucalyptus cinerea). A friend, visiting from Australia, fondly recognized it in the garden as “gummy”. It will grow as an annual here and I always dry the round “silver dollar” leaves for dye. Sometimes I can even acquire them amongst the floral arrangements in the local grocery store. This year I had a additional  variety (Eucalyptus globulus). It was grown by a friend from seeds that she brought from a tree in her yard in Ethiopia.

Dye tests were done on wool, both…

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Weld (Reseda luteola)

September 24, 2016

Natural Dye: Experiments and Results

I recently presented a program at the NC  Arboretum on weld (Reseda luteola). There is a growing interest in natural dyes in our local region and I was hoping to inspire dyers to begin growing their own. A few days before the program, I was asked by a local dyer why I was not talking about native plants such as broom straw or goldenrod, which were both seasonably available at that time. It was a good question. It question deserved some serious thought.

These are the reasons I chose to encourage dyers to use weld:

  • It is considered one of the “classical dyes”, that has been used by dyers for centuries. It is the oldest documented source of yellow and was used by both the Greeks and the Romans.

    Weld on cotton with tannin and aluminum acetate mordant Weld on cotton with tannin and aluminum acetate mordant

  • I have observed that it is more lightfast than any natural yellow…

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An Autumn Sunday

January 11, 2015

2sheepinthecity's Blog

photo(110)

An Autumn Sunday
Begins with visits by beloved family and friends,
The exodus of items no longer wanted.
A barren house laden with memories waiting for new ones.
In the distance, a tractor hums its harvest tune,
And the calls of Sandhill Cranes remind me of where I am in space and time.
A place I have loved since childhood.
Will the memories of my mother follow me to a strange place?
Or the smells which remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen fill a foreign space?
Will the sounds of a man whistling, or of farm machinery beckon a vision of my father working on land not in Michigan?
I am glad my children never lived here.
I will find them in their own states, far from the IMG_1135
Cider mills and forgotten trails of home, new adventures
Beckoning in the few years of time left.
Wasted on feeble reminiscing

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Natural Dyes from the Backyard

February 25, 2013

Cover Natural Dyes from the Backyard

 

I’m so excited about my new, very basic dye booklet. With a little help from the software developer, I published it myself on Amazon. It’s a very reasonable $1.39! Lol! Available only on Kindle at this time. A paperback booklet would be cost prohibitive to produce.  I explain my natural dye experiments last fall using elderberries, pokeberries, lichens and flowers from my garden. Betty's beautiful shawl

 

Betty’s shawl is so gorgeous; she knit it with cashmere I dyed with elderberries she picked at our friend Stephen’s farm.  The Pattern is Cliffrose. You can see more of Betty’s amazing knitting on Ravelry.com. She is Betikins there.

Felting Day

April 13, 2012

Pris and Karen joined me in the studio today for a great time learning the ins and outs of felt.  Pris is an artist felter and Karen and I both learned so much from her. Karen is a textile artist in her own right and I will definitely write more about both women in the future.

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Kazoo Yarnies Dye Workshop

February 13, 2012

Sandy, Cindy and Beth gettin' ready to dye!

Last Wednesday, the studio was working once again.  It has been a while since any real action took place in there aside from my natural dyeing escapades.  Now that I have a goal in mind; getting inventory ready for Michigan Fiber Festival, I need to get out there more often. But it is so lonely!!!  So when Beth asked if I would consider having a few of the members of her fiber group from Kalamazoo come to dye, I knew it would be a gift for me.  Beth Pulsipher is the photographer.

I’ve blogged in the past about how difficult it is for women my age, (or maybe just me) to make friends.  These women were so interesting and friendly I was immediately drawn in.  We had a great time.

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Catch Ups

February 5, 2012

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog because I’ve been writing more, visiting my children on either coast, and generally trying to catch up with my life where it left off back in October.  How’d we get to February 2012?  Alotta time has passed.

My life really hasn’t been in the studio. I left Blue Coast Artists at the beginning of the season; it wasn’t fair to them to list me in their brochure if I am never going to be open to the public.  It’s a better fit me for to be open by appointment.

Last  month, I was visiting Jennifer and her family back east when Del from Michigan Fiber Festival called the house and told Jim I was invited to vend at the festival in August. This is a huge positive accolade for me.  And, it is inspiration to get out to the studio and start working again.  It was a timely call because I just bought a few new toys that I would like to justify; a Hansen Electric Spinner, and a Brother Electric drum carder with fine cloth.  I have the huge old vintage Pat Green Cottage Carder that Andy gave me the money for back in 2006, but it doesn’t card fine fibers. I didn’t like being restricted to only spinning Romney and other long wools, although I love them. I want to do more knitting of fabrics that can be worn next to the body and long wools are too coarse. Sorry long wool lovers. I really do love them, too.

Brother Electric Drum Carder with fine carding cloth.

My good friend Beth Pulsipherand her group from Kalamazoo, the Kazoo Yarnies, are coming to dye on Wednesday, so I better get out and move things around.  I’ll post pictures after we have our workshop.

Mixing dyes for Wednesday's workshop with Kazoo Yarnies

I’ll be busy teaching and preparing for MFF in the coming months.

Read my other blog for news about my upcoming book, Dream Lover.

Full frontal and back cover for Dream Lover.

Call me! I am psyched about our spinning group, Back Row Spinners next meeting on February 12th at Sheltering Pines Farm.  This is a REALLY diverse group of people.

Betty and I at the September Back Row Spinner's get-together.

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Crayon ART

October 6, 2011

I had the wonderful opportunity to have a week filled with art when my niece, accomplished artist Melissa, came to visit me.  In addition to going to a Saugatuck Douglas Art Club meeting, attending the opening of Art a Loan at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, and doing much shopping, we spent two days learning a simple screen printing technique which uses children’s washable crayons.

To help us get started, we first watched a DVD, Mixed Media Textile Art with Susie Monday, produced by Interweave Press.  Last year, I saw her work in a Quilting Arts Magazine and it was so inspiring that even though I no longer quilt, I ordered the DVD.  Next, I got a simple screen printing frame from Dick Blick Art supply.  Melissa and I found some screen printing frames at Hobby Lobby and Micheal’s as well.

The supplies needed are as follows.

Screen printing frame with mesh attached.

Padded work surface.  We used a stack of old toweling which worked well.  In the future, I would protect the surface with plastic wrap.

Rubber gloves.

Washable Crayons.  Melissa also used watercolor pencils, but felt she got good results with the less expensive crayons.

Textile Medium.  This is a liquid product that is found where craft paints are sold.

Something to print.  We used bleached, prepared for dyeing bandannas purchased from Dharma Trading.

Supplies

Melissa had an image in mind and proceeded to draw directly on the mesh with the crayons.  I helped a little by coloring the checkerboard border:-)  We then placed the screen over the fabric to be printed.

Coloring directly on the mesh.

Once the image was to our liking, Melissa placed approximately 1/8 cup of Textile Medium in the ‘well’ of duct tape across the top of the screen.  She then spread the medium evenly across the image, allowing it to set for about a minute.  She squeegeed the medium across the image and it pulled the color down onto the fabric underneath.  The only thing I would have done differently was to iron the bandana first so there wouldn’t be the white fabric down the center. 

Melissa drawing directly on the mesh with crayon.

This technique is simple and yields huge results.  The post printing process is easy; let air dry for 24 hours, iron utilizing a pressing cloth, and then wash in cool water.  Be careful with the textile medium because it does have a rubbery texture.  We found that small images should be surrounded by freezer paper to reduce the amount of medium which transfers to the fabric without color.


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The Other Thing I Do

July 12, 2011

In addition to the fibery things I am passionate about, I am also a published author.  I’m going to shamelessly promote my book here on the Lakeshore Textile Blog.  About twenty five years ago, I began writing a book that I finally finished last year. When I attempted to have it edited, the experience was so awful that I thought maybe I had wasted years of my time and a ton of paper and ink cartridges.  And then suddenly, I started writing Pam of Babylon.  It was so much fun to write, albeit a lot of work.  My editor loved it.  So that’s that!  Its available on Amazon.  The Pam of Babylon Blog has a short summary of the book.  And, the first sequel is finished and ready for editing, while the second is in progress.  I love the characters and don’t want their stories  to end.

WARNING!!! The contents are for adults only.

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Memorial Day Weekend

May 28, 2011

Hey, if you want to come by the studio this weekend, just give me a call on my cell phone; 609-314-1872.  I’d love to see you!

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