Thursday, April 28, 2005

Dyed Samplers

Yesterday, I spent an enjoyable morning showing my friend Maple (who raises Alpacas) the basic of using Acid dyes on fiber. We focused on Maple's fiber, but I got a few samples in, too, of course!

First, though, I had to show this snapshot - the yield of a recent dye pot ... there was a pound of Border Leicester lamb curls that I had fun dyeing in a wide variety of colors, and carding into spinning batts as accents, bright jeweled bits of color! This is all that was left...Rose, Peach and Spruce. They are now on their way to a new fiber home.

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Below is Old Poppies, because the intense and bright colors remind me of the common field poppies that grow in many gardens - scarlet, orangey-red, the deep purpley black and even yellow gold.

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This next lot, Highlands Grass, didn't want to photograph well, the colors are dark...teal, spruce, a burgundy raspberry and marine blue. I had some white areas left in this roving that give it an amature look. They actually are very subtle raspberry pink and don't look as stark in the actual roving as they do in the photograph below

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And then, just to exhaust the Marine blue dyepot I threw in some of my bulky grey yarn and got this intense color (of course I wish I had dyed more!)

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Now I have the strong urge to dye more fibers, but where to find the time? Incidentally, the roving I used in the above samples are from a fiber blend I just got back from Zeilingers...a mix of Finn-Cheviot, Border Leicester, Lincoln lamb, some Corriedale and maybe even Romney. I thought it would make a nice strong sock yarn (wish I would have added some mohair that I had on hand!). Though I haven't had time to sample it for socks, it did seem to take the dyes brilliantly. When I spin these samples up, I will post a photo of the resulting yarns.

The yarn is some of my bulky Corriedale yarn, available for purchase (and on sale now!) from our farm website Serenity Farms

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

April Showers?

If you look back a few days to my entry for April 18, you will see a bright sunny picture of my Spring Garden Yarn socks, in my garden...

Well, below is a picture of that same spot in the garden, taken Sunday morning, April 24! Pretty funny, eh? Or just Michigan - I guess we are used to it!

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Surprisingly, just two days later we are back to mid-50's for temperatures and warm sunshine, gentle breezes. Even the magnolia does not seem to have suffered loss to its gentle pink flowers, though it looked pretty sad on Sunday and I was certain it would be gone

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I would love to recreate those colors in a roving...hmmm, might have to give it a try! Happily, my peach tree seems to have survived as can just see the barest hint of the pink buds in this picture

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Well, we needed the moisture desperately and now things look so bright and green! AND the storm seems to have zapped the pesky bugs that had already hatched.

Look for the silver lining in every cloud ;)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Garden Notes

On the CA list recently, we have been discussing Spiderwort, Pinks and Rabbits.

We were talking about the different names of this favorite and fragrant garden perennial - I like Cheddar Pink. I have it in several colors in my garden, but I think this traditional pink with blue green foliage is still my favorite. I use the flowers in many bouquets in the house for the delicious scent. It is pictured below when it was still a young is much larger now and gets loaded with blooms:

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My friend Eve shared that she had found a rabbits nest in one of her nursery beds. A few nights ago while I was poking around the vegetable garden, I nearly stepped on this visitor:

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Or maybe I was the visitor to her garden?

You can see a picture of the flower of the Spiderwort plant at Deborah's blog. She mentions that it grows like a weed in her Florida yard. I have it in three colors, the most common purple, also white and my favorite a wine red. I thought it might be fun to show what spiderwort looks like in my April garden in Michigan...

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Quite different than Deborah's blooms! Soon though, to the delight of the bumblebees that love them, we will have flowers blossoming, too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Not One, But Two

April 19 dawned another sunny day. As I was walking back to the barn from feeding the rams I noticed a commotion far back in the pasture where the broodmares are and I glimpsed a flash of bright white...a new foal I thought, and ran to the house to get the field glasses. Sure enough, Stella had a foal already up and nursing!

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Bill and I watched for awhile and finished the other chores before driving back to check on things. In the meantime, I noticed another mare laying down and as we drove back the driveway, we pulled up to see that Stella's sister, Sally, had her foal on the ground as well!

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In the first picture of Stella and her foal, you can see Sally in the background with her foal just born - she hasn't passed her afterbirth yet! So, two stud foals, nearly identical! The flash of white I had seen from the house was the big white star that they both have. No troubles, no complications...the perfect way for foals (well, any livestock) to be born - as God intended.

A good day.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sheep Magnolias and Garden Socks

What a peaceful site....peering through the budding Magnolia tree to watch the ewes and lambs resting in the mid-morning shade!

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I also have a Finished Object to report for Show and Tell! Finally finished the few inches I had to go on my Crusoe Sock from the January Socknitters SAM. I love this pattern, I love this yarn, I love the way these socks look!

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The pattern is here at Knitty, the yarn is from Fancy Image Yarn and I think you will agree they look lovely posed here in my spring garden with the naturalized hyacinth and the chartreuse shrub that I can't remember the name of...actually I may have never known the name of the shrub as it was probably one of those seventy-five cent clearance pots at the end of the season.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Same Day, More Fiber

I decided to get creative myself, with so much inspiration around me!

This roving is something I blended on my drumcarder from fibers I had on hand - aiding in my goal of de-stashing (grin) and combines silvery grey Corriedale; hand-painted silk in a combination of blue, yellow and turquoise; and just a touch of green/blue Firestar. I call it Reflecting Pool, though truthfully it reminds me more of Lake Superior the morning after a storm, when the water is all stirred up but reflecting sparkles when lit by a brilliant ray of sun!

Close up of Reflecting Pool Posted by Hello

You see from the photo that I have not mastered spinning the blend quite as fine as I would like it to be, and it is a little inconsistent. But it is so pretty. While the close up photo taken above in sunlight more accurately shows the colors of the roving and the sparkle, the photo below - taken in the dappled sunlight of one of my shade gardens - reflects the soothing effect of the blend. Funny that both the grey and the yellow stand out in the brighter light (above) while the blues and greens are what you see in the shaded light (below)

So interesting how light changes reflection! I hadn't intended to sell this fiber, it was just an experiment to aid in destashing - but it has been spotted and sold! So it will be a project for someone else. Still, I enjoyed doing it and hope you enjoy looking at it.

Reflecting Pool - Wool, Silk & Firestar Posted by Hello

Silk, Wool and Light

It is wonderful to have talented friends! The fiber in the photo below comes from my friends Sharon and Eve. Sharon in Ohio is responsible for the dyed wool roving - there are two different colorways there - Dreamsicle (with the frosty touches of pale pink) and Mango Lily (has more pale peach and apricot colors). The handpainted tussah silk, across the center of the photo is called Ambrosia and comes from Eve at Simply Divine Fibers in New York.

This photo was taken in the sunlight and I think shows the color to the best advantage, though it is actually a much closer match than it appears here. My daughter, who is not really fond of pastels, walked into the house and saw this combination in one of my spinning baskets and declared that she loved it and had to have something spun from it! She is an accomplished knitter but does not spin - yet!

Hand painted fibers in the sunlight Posted by Hello

It makes me feel good just to look at these fibers and think of my friends, Sharon and Eve.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Next Generation

Truly Grandma's boy, he loves to dig in the dirt, rearrange plants and find small flowers! Posted by Hello

Thoughts of Gardening

This post is dedicated to my Christian Artisan sisters, who have been prodding me for a long overdue update to this blog.

Spring seems, as usual, to be slow in reaching my part of the midwest. I grew up an hour and a half south of where I live now, and yet it seems as though I were in a different climate zone there. In my younger gardening days, peas and potatoes were planted around Good Friday. Main crop of vegetables were nearly always in the ground by Mothers Day. Now, living as I do in the middle of the mitten of Michigan, I dare not put tomatoes and peppers outdoors till the first weekend of June. In the twelve years I have lived here, we have had snow on Memorial Day weekend twice and killing frosts more often than that. The ground is even to cold to encourage the cool weather crops like peas, lettuce and spinach.

So I content myself with starting seeds and tending seedlings indoors, though I don't do nearly as many as I used to.

This past Sunday, while poking around and picking up the yard I did discover a pleasant surprise - two little daffodils blooming above the wine red of the sedum my daughter and I call "Jelly Toes" (not its proper name I know!) Even the daffodil is a bit stunted from the up and down temperatures we have been having.