Monday, July 6, 2015

Foutth of July weekend weaving

Saturday morning up and out I go into the yard gathering flowers for a table arrangement. Usually we're camping and I use my father's old minnow bucket (with a jar inside to hold the water), this year were home but I use the bucket filled with old vacation memories.

After collecting patriotic fabrics for years finally in 2000 I made this crazy quilt flag table cloth.

I don't remember the name of the patterns maker. It was simple method for crazy quilting and a lot of fun.

Last evening I went out to see what's ready to pick for weaving.
The rabbits have been terrible this year eating almost all of my dye plants. I'm very, very upset. My chocolate cosmos flowers that I spent 3 years looking for and finally finding seeds on line were coming up beautifully until Peter rabbit and his family ate almost all of them and other dye plants  one night.

I do have a lot of sweet peas and some dyers chamomile that were ready to weave.
A flower dyed wool strip completes this holiday weaving.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Herbal Sugars

After processing in a jar wool layered with cochineal, madder root and osage orange bark for a few months I finally washed it out. The wool almost looked marbled with layers of different color.
I do wish I hadn't put in the bark after sitting so long the bark left some dull tan colors.

June 24th, St. John's day, the St. John's wort is ready to be picked.

Besides being a wonderful dye plant it is a very important medicinal plant.

This year I'm infusing it in olive oil, very useful for sunburn and sore muscles.
I started with mostly flowers and buds, filling the jar as full as possible then at the top put in a few stalks to help hold the flowers under the oil. Fill with olive oil, use a butter knife to push the flowers aside to get out all the air bubbles. Air bubbles left in and flowers at the surface will cause mold. I left it loosely capped for a week, getting out the bubbles every day.

Now tightly capped it needs to sit in the hot sun for 4 to 6 weeks to process. The oil will turn a dark red.  When its ready, strain thoroughly, discarding the plant material. Place in clean jar and store in cool, dark place. Hopefully you won't need it but it's ready if you do.

Next up lavender sugar. Layers of lavender and sugar. By the end of summer use to sprinkle on home made sugar cookies and desserts.

And one more sugar using lemon balm and lemon thyme. Another topping for baking.

I used the herbs fresh so instead of capping tightly I placed a napkin in place of the lid to let the moisture from the herbs escape. Also I mix it every couple of days.
With the rose petal sugar I added rose geranium leaves for more flavor.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Solstice

We had a beautiful day on the first day of Summer. After all the Father's day activities were done out back I went. My husband lit a fire and I wove on the loom.

I had to add a few rows to the sunburst on Summer Solstice.
Before I could start weaving I had to unweave some of Mother Natures work, the bittersweet vines have been working hard on the project.

Fist I added a row of dyers chamomile, next a row of lady's mantle, finishing up with a wool strip previously dyed with eucalyptus.

This year I planted two moon flowers at the base of the loom, they should be beautiful climbing up the loom.

The roses and first summer flowers are in full bloom.

This September our Herb Society meeting is about making herbal sugars and salts. To get ready for the meeting I'm making the sugars. The first is rose petal. This sugar will be used to top sugar cookies or cakes.
To make the sugar is easy but it's important to make sure you use roses with no chemical sprays on them. Absolutely no florists roses. Next important is to taste the rose and see if it is pleasant. They say the red and pink roses are the best. This came from my pink climbing rose bush.
First step I do is to pick and lay the rose petals out for 24 hours so some of their moisture dries out.

Next keep layering them with sugar. I keep them covered with a napkin so the excess moisture can get out and stir them everyday. After there's no more moisture left I'll put the lid on tight until ready to use.
The next herbal sugars will be lavender, lemon balm and rose geranium.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My girlfriend, quilt artist Deb Hardman made me this wonderful "earth day birthday" quilt.
When I opened the package I about died! It took my breath away.
From the internet she printed a picture of the moon and earth, traced the outline then painted it on silk.

Then machine quilted it. It looks just like a photo taken from outer space.
Simply beautiful. I've never seen a more perfect Earth day quilt!
Thank you Deb.

I bundled up the pine bark from our vacation. I was a little nervous about pitch coming off and getting into my fabric so I wrapped the bark in cheese cloth and used a old dye pot. I simmered the bark a few hours then added the wool and simmered it another hour. Turned off the pot and let it set overnight then washed it out. It came out good, no evidence of any pitch.

This is the finished fabric (still wet). It turned  a rich gold. It will be a beautiful reminder of Spear Fish canyon when in the Fall all the aspen trees are in full color.

Back home in the dye garden "Peter" has been enjoying my dyers chamomile, reminding me of the Beatrice Potters tale of Peter Rabbit and his mama rabbit making him chamomile tea to sooth his stomach.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Travel to South Dakota

My husband and I slipped away for 8 days, all by ourselves. We loaded our RV, packed my quilting and out to South Dakota we went. It was heaven.
First stop the Bad Lands. Barren but beautiful. They were so dramatic against the threating skies.

To really appreciate them you have to get out of your vehicle and hike in, feel and smell them.
This is looking back at our RV.

There are many different formations, this group looks like the sand castles we make on our beaches.

My husband on another area.

Everywhere there is wild life. Prairie dogs running and squeaking.

Mountain sheep scattered throughout.

Wild buffalo roam the grass lands.

We spent a couple days there then off to the Black Hills.
Total different mountains, green with pine.

We camped in a wonderful campground with spectacular scenery.

Our campsite overlooked this mountain lake.

Every morning I'd make a chai, hike down to the lake and quilt. Mornings in the mountains are chilly but the peace and serenity is worth it.

I  started stitching on the sun's rays.

I did three different embroidery stitches on the different rays, blanket, chain and feather stitch.

We stopped at Prairies Edge, a beautiful, beautiful (high end) Native American store in Rapid City. I bought some glass, silver lined beads to stitch around the center of the sun. Not a lot of them, a few every few stitches.

I brought this fabric along to practice my stitches before stitching the sun. Later it was turning out so cute I kept stitching around the flowers and adding feather stitching sun beams.

A few days later we're off to Spear Fish Canyon. The most beautiful canyon I've ever seen. We usually travel here in the Fall when the aspen are in full color, this time in the early spring they were just beginning to open.

With all the rain this Spring, Bridal Veil falls was roaring.

Driving through the canyon the walls rise up.

Following along the road was the river.

In the middle of the canyon is the film site where Dancing with Wolves was filmed.

This area is where the final scenes were filmed. In the winter with the Native man on his horse overlooking the canyon.

Finally to the campground with only seven sites, we were the only ones there. Perfect!

Set up camp and off we went on a hike. I found this pine tree down and took some bark for dyeing. I'll try it this weekend.

And here I am quilting in this beautiful, serene surrounding.

Leaving the canyon we head to Wyoming to Devils Tower (so named by white man, the Natives called it Bears tepee)

It was so much more awe inspiring then we thought it would be. Can you see the people in red starting to climb the rocks

This mountain is very sacred to the Native people.

There are many prayer bundles left.

Scattered throughout the aspens. It was so spiritual.

We brought our own to leave with our prayers for the Native people.

Along the bottom edge of the mountain is a paved walk, you really feel a part of it from the walk.
After a couple of days there it was back home, rested and refreshed and back to the real world.
I hope I didn't bore you with too many "vacation" photos, it's hard to pick from the hundred I took.
And more importantly if you love the wilderness I hope you can visit these beautiful places.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo