Friday, July 31, 2015

All the colors

(storm clouds rolling in)
Oh, these summer days ... they creep and speed by at the same time. It's been hot here and we all were feeling the lethargy that sets in with the heat and humidity of Kentucky summers. There were days after days of thunderstorms, bringing plenty of Great Pyrenees (poor Aslan) scaring lightning and pouring rain. Our part of Kentucky is about 12 inches above normal rainfall for this time of year. How I wish we could send some of that moisture out to the folks on the west coast. The good part of all this rain is that the grass is unusually lush for the end of July, which is great for grazing (maybe not so great for staying caught up with the mowing). Thankfully, the last few days have brought a little respite and we're all feeling better for it.

I've been doing a little sewing. When in Nashville at Craft South, I ask Anna Michelle about a tunic Pierette's mother, Michelle, was wearing (she also works at Craft South). It turned out to be a pattern she had designed and, yes, they did have it for sale (you can also order straight from Green Bee). It has some wonderful details, like hem and sleeve facings that are really nice. I've made two tops so far, and after making some adjustments, the second one turned out just the way I like it. Next I plan to make a few tunics to wear in cooler weather over jeans or leggings. My fabric stash has grown to epic proportions and I really need to get busy making.                                                                             

On the knitting front, I've cast on a Uniform by Carrie Bostick Hoge.  I'm using Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Cast Iron colorway. If I can stick with it, I know it will become a wardrobe staple. Take a moment to look at Brooklyn Tweed's website. Gorgeous! I love all the colors, even ones I might not normally wear and the color stories for each shade are perfection. I find their whole aesthetic so appealing, it makes me want to buy-all-the-yarn. (Which is crazy when you consider that I go to all the work of growing my own yarn!)

And, speaking of colors, I've also done a little dyeing. Logwood was the first one I attempted after my return from Shakerag and the Maiwa workshop. Once again, I suffered from heavy-handedness (that just might be a theme in my life). The logwood from Maiwa is quite potent (and I remembered Charllotte telling me that after I had made the dyepot. It worked out just fine in the end. I ended up with 30 skeins dyed, in increments of 10, each bundle a few shades lighter than the previous one. Last week a friend invited a few of us over for an indigo dyeing session and that was great fun. I'm totally hooked on indigo now and understand the compulsion to give everything in the house a dip in the indigo vat.

(left-indigo over gray yarn / right-indigo overdye on gray yarn previously dyed with marigold)
(samples from mycopigments dye workshop - all mushroom and lichen dyed)
Several weekends ago Lindy, Marlene and I made a quick trip to Knoxville for a one day mycopigment dye workshop taught by Alissa Allen.  I've long had an interest in mushroom and lichen dyeing, but had not been to any workshops. It was a fun and rewarding day with good friends that brought us all back home to our respective farms, ready to tramp the woods looking for mushrooms. We produced an amazing palette of colors from a few mushrooms and one lichen. It's surprising how many mushrooms have been right under my feet for years and I just hadn't noticed them. While it's not really practical for me to try producing enough mushroom dyed yarn to sell, I'm looking forward to producing some small batches for personal use. I'm also hoping to host Alissa for a workshop here at the farm next year. How great would it be to go out foraging on my own farm with an expert?

Many years ago, when I first began to spin and raise sheep, I was firmly into only the natural colors from my own sheep and truth be told, I probably still love those colors best. Lately I seem to have drifted to being into all colors, though drifted might not be the most accurate of terms. More accurately I have evolved into a lover of all colors. Nature presents us with an unlimited palette and why shouldn't we partake of it all? My recent workshops in natural dyeing have opened my eyes to the beauty of color obtainable from natural sources and while I still have so much to learn, I'm firmly on the path of working with color often.

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed at all the colors you got from natural dyes. They're beautiful! I want to knit with them all!