Sunday, May 15, 2022

Day 2 - the cloth

It's starting to look like rain. A perfect end to a special dye adventure. We started on Beltane and will end under a full lunar eclipse. I will leave all these outside tonight to receive the moon's blessing.

I lift each wet bundle and shake out the oatmeal. The dye is exhausted at this point. I sweep the crumbs up and toss them out into the weeds. I don't compost this stuff because I also use salt in the mix. 

As much as I've read about salt killing plants, the weeds that grow so fiercely under and around my deck must not be hearing that conversation. 

None of the colors will transfer to the plastic and only stays a few rains on the deck boards.

I can't wait to wash and dry this large piece of lightweight linen from an online resource. I don't usually buy new cloth but I wanted to try using linen for some summer shifts. Couldn't leave it plain old white.

 Somehow my favorite linen blouse got mixed in to this lot and I didn't realize it until I flipped over the wet cloth on the deck (which was already strewn with dye-dusted oatmeal) and saw the row of mother of pearl buttons and the Structures label. 

Oh well. 

Day 2- more dirty thread


There was a clutch of thread skeins that I didn't get to the last time I was making dirty threads. Today they partied with the vintage cloth.

I should have shown how this goes from step one, but here's the reveal. 

Some of these I call over-cooked, colorwise, but I shouldn't rush to judgment. Cloth and thread always appear darker and more intense when they are wet.

These should wash and dry out to some nice strong colors.

Color from the closet- Day One


modern light linen

For me, dye days rely so much on the weather. 

I need early morning light to gather materials and decide what colors I want to work with. Then the day needs to cook up hot and bright - I have a great market umbrella for shade this year.  

As I'm working this year, I'm talking to myself, taking notes paying attention rather than running on autopilot the way I usually do. 

Telling and showing someone who's never done this before because that's how the book will be. 
There are so many random little bits that I don't even think about.

 Like, let the cloth have a good soak in the magic sauce before dyeing. Mixing a big batch and throwing the cloth in is the first order of business on dye day. 

There was a tub deep in the closet filled with pieces that I didn't get to last year. Some from the Italian Bridal collection, an embroidered cotton lawn nightie. Embroided damask napkins. Vintage sheets and pillowcases. A lot of varying weights of linen, some garment weight, some service weight. I have whole bolts of 22" wide coarse weave toweling. A natural fiber too coarse for cotton. My best guess is linen.

A lot of it got color today. 
Again, I will be hand washing/rinsing this lot.

Most of these will be for sale. I'm still thinking about the format. 

Stuffing it all into a plastic bag isn't working for me anymore.

My thought was to get a card table, 36" square.  Lay out a single layer of pieces until the table was covered. So a square yard of cloth and two skeins of dirty thread to a bundle. How to wrap it? How to ship it? 

It seems like the Christmas card method of sending threads is working out well. 

I suppose if I had to choose what color dye to fumble all over myself, this would be in the top two only because I have enough to waste.

Note to self - kitchen gloves are too clumsy for  dye mixing 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Color by Buggy Oatmeal


It's been so long, that I had forgotten how easy this technique is. And how satisfying the results are. I should STFU now because things are still drying in the sun. 

I am paying strict attention to that Demon Fuschia, so each piece is being hand-washed separately to prevent that creeping pink contamination. More handwork, but worth the trouble.

I found a box of all that vintage Italian bridal stuff from last summer that I didn't get to dye. Some of that lightest weight linen I bought online and a few test pieces of some premium bleached muslin from HoAnns. All of it taking up the dye like drunks in the dessert.

I'll be adding most of this to the store, so check back.

And there WILL be a book because there is no way I can keep up with the demand for my cloth. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Dirty Threads!


And there's a bunch. Plenty to go 'round.

Some changes. 
I won't be posting photos of sets, it's just too time-consuming. Most of you have trusted me to choose for you, so I'll be starting there.

The hanks will be coming this way as I won't be winding them onto cardboard bobbins (I'll send them along until I run out). I'm sure everyone can handle that part of it. Or should I make a video?

I'm experimenting with new packaging options - kicking those floppy old plastic bags to the curb.

Each skein is still 11 yards of DMC six-strand cotton hand-dyed with Procion MX dyes. 

A set of FOUR skeins is 23.00 which includes postage in the US. 

Sorry, I'm still not risking the PO boogie for international shipments.

I'm having issues with receiving electronic payments so checks or money orders will be the way to pay. You were wondering what you were going to do with all those checks anyway, right?

I'll be moving all these details to the shop page shortly.

There is still not enough hand-dyed cloth to offer for sale, but I'm thinking of making up some smaller kits that include thread and cloth.  Just a taste to get you hooked, if you already weren't. 

 And thanks for all the interest. 

Questions? email me.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

dye deck big time

Something new, on something old. I laid out torn lengths of cloth and put the wet skeins of thread directly on them. Made the magic with the dye, then rolled the skeins up in the cloth like burritos and put them in sun to poach.  Dyers call it batching. 

I never put much stock in batching. I've washed out cloth within an hour of dyeing and left cloth crusty with dye for days and never observed a big difference. I did it today because I bit off more than I could chew. Too much of everything- cloth, thread, dye, heat- so batch it will, under the stars with owls serenading. A little extra magic never hurt. 

It's been years since I've used the mason jars this way.  This is just the first step for these pieces. And there's still an acre of premium white muslin that I'm going color to make myself a couple of summer schmattas. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

real time

It looks like it might be longer than I anticipated to get the store restocked. Smaller batches take more time and less energy. I have the same amount of time that everyone else does, moment to moment. How I use it is different these days. 

This cloth is just a by-product of the most recent thread dyeing session. I put scraps down on the work table and then lay out the skeins of thread right on the cloth as I work. 

This time I folded the pieces of cloth over the skeins and rolled them up like burritos and left them in the sun.  Forgot about them until late in the day which added another whole day to the process. No more getting it done in one day. 

The ties with fringes and bits of cloth flagging on the ends are very interesting. Holding on to them in hopes of something speaking to me.

The threads are turning out beautifully. I'm in love with Bluebird. Not very promising when first applied - muddy almost. I was never a fan of warm blues - extreme me always rolled right over into purple- but this blue is glorious.

I promised myself I wasn't going to wind these onto bobbins, but here I am. Stopping now before my fingers and wrists make me sorry later. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

A fruitful friday


Nothing like a little wet thread porn to brighten up a blog, right?  I was a little heavier-handed with the dyes this time, but I'll know better tomorrow. 
I only hatched out these two because it was an overfull day.

I did an unknown something to my left knee on Sunday so there has been a lot of hobbling around. Pain is tedious and exhausting. 
 First things were first. The blueberry bushes I bought last week HAD to get in the ground. With no way to operate a shovel, I sat in the dirt and bored into the miserable Georgia clay with a nice sharp hand trowel. I made the holes big enough to add some decent topsoil back in with the plants. I hope I wasn't digging three graves. They already have berries on them!

I have since learned that I need to buy a few more of a different breed of blueberry for some plant sex reason. I won't pry. But I am going to task one of the menfolk here with digging any future holes.

Baby hollyhocks had to come outside because Milly ate a few. I hope to establish these as perennials but I've had no luck in years past. One came up every year in the mailbox garden but every year succumbed to some kind of leaf rust.
Hopefully, some of these new ones are hardier.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

When words

Spring is finally on us. Even though I woke to see frost on the cars the other morning,  the two cherry and grape tomato plants I put up against the chain-link fence didn't seem bothered. Dropped a handful of hyacinth bean vine seeds along that same fence today. There might be blueberries.

The house on the other side of the fence has been empty since late summer last year. The bank that owns it spent a lot of money putting lipstick on a pig and I'll tell anyone who comes to look at it, buyer beware. But the new concrete section of the driveway should warn them that there is a drainage problem. Still, I'm going to plant a row of sunflowers along the garage wall that faces my bedroom window so I can enjoy the view.  

The worst of the pollen has passed which means it's time to drain and refill the pool! 

We thrive.

Damn little creative stuff going on, but Spoonflower is devilling me hard!

I killed a scene the other day. After fighting with it for more than a week, I realized that it was never going to do what I needed it to do. Even worse, my need was mistaken for something that mattered. It was a relief!

As of today, I've given up herding half-baked rabbits--trying to order up scenes that aren't even written, just a fragment on an index card for some. The whole outline thing feels more like a wool suit with no underwear so, screw all that. It's been keeping me away from actually writing anything. I can't blame the lack of progress on not having time. I'll never be able to play that card because I know how the last six years have been. Full! Busy and productive, so, no excuses. I'm grinning just writing this.  

Monday, April 11, 2022

Cute overload

 Camilla doing her best pole dancing but Bailey ain't impressed.

His attitude has moved from pissed off to grudging acceptance.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Spring Break

I will always be grateful for the amazing parks in Gwinnett County.  Some days, the hardest part is deciding which one.  Ten minutes from home, this is our favorite until the weather turns hot. If ever a park needed some mature trees, shade shelters or (gasp) a splash pad or two, this would be the place. 

It was windy as hell, but I made do at a picnic table where I could keep one eye on Sonic the Hedgehog and his artmaking when he wasn't hanging from something or swinging on something.

There was a short spell of cold rain that called for gentle indoor stuff while the family went to the movies.

Yesterday they visited Space Camp in Alabama. I love this picture and hate it at the same time. I am severely claustrophobic, and I can also imagine that by the time Charlie is grown, he could just as easily be dressed for work in this picture.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

the long, slow rain

After a string of cool breezy brightness, we are having the Georgia Monsoon complete with thunder and lightning. The kind of day that is good for slow, quiet stuff, like napping.

Overnight, there will be a green explosion. I gave in to the temptation of planting early. Tomatoes along the chain link fence will be guarded by sunflowers and anything that I can get to climb, most likely morning glories. 

I liberated a hibiscus from the trash at the big box store. It looked so dead that you couldn't tell what color the blooms were, but the woody stems were still flexible and green. That's joined the perennials up at the mailbox garden. I'm going to put up a three-legged support for climbers as soon as I can find some really tall bamboo. 

For the first time, ever I'll have a full sun garden under the kitchen windows. More sunflowers most likely and blueberry bushes. 

Don't know (or care) what the neighbors think, but we are enjoying the firepit in the front yard, sticks with marshmallows always on hand. I've heard that if someone calls the fire department on you, they are cool if you are having some kind of cookout. I personally think smores are gross, but always volunteer to eat the burned-up marshmallow skins.

A Sunday night routine is settling in. The front yard gets gleaned for deadfall. Jake gets the fire going. Charlie told us the funniest spooky story I've heard in ages. No matter that he cribbed it exactly from a cartoon show. His delivery and timing were masterful. No one had anything to top it.