Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Fun

The plants are calling me, it's dyeing time.
I laid out a length of raw silk, wool and a piece of cotton, picked leaves off my purple basil plant, laid them on the fabrics, rolled them up tightly, and steamed them for a couple hours.

I also did them same with red blanket flowers in cotton.

Rolled up in my steamer.

Lid on very tightly, steamed on my antique stove. Left them overnight before opening the pot.

The next day, this is the purple basil dyed fabrics. From left to right wool, silk and cotton.
They say purple basil is a wonderful plant to dye with, it will stick to the inside of the pot, the stir stick but not to the fabric. I solved that by rolling it up into the fabric.
These fabrics have been washed.

The cotton fabric from the blanket flowers.
I love dyeing wool fabric but I'm challenging myself to also use cotton fabric this year. It's a bit more difficult to grab the dye.

Quilt bee last night, a picnic on a deck overlooking Lake Michigan.
Joni with her fun patriotic table runner.

Cathy O. with her beautiful finished quilt.

My Herb Society meeting Tuesday night was held at this restored Dr.'s office from the early 1900's.

A new medicinal herb garden has been planted.

And my favorite part Dr. Hobson's vegetable prescription for "Diseases and Weaknesses of women". For Irregular and Painful Menstruation, Excessive and Scanty Menstrual Flow. Etc.
Price $1.00
And when the Dr. died in his wife (who was not a Dr.) took over his practice!

Off we went to another herb garden and picnic, this was their fence out back, with wine corks along the top!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

St. John's wort

St. John's Wort is in full bloom and ready for making oils/salves and dyeing fabrics.
It takes a lot of blossoms and buds to make a dye bath and to make a healing oil/salve. I find mine along the country roads and fields. I never pull them up from the root, instead I cut the tops leaving some behind for the bees and reseeding.
St. John's Wort is sold the world over as a supplement for anxiety and depression issues, and many, many people use it.
St. John's Wort oil/salve is wonderful for healing skin, such as sun burn, bug bites, skin rashes and irritations.

Up close you can see the dye/essential oil in the tiny black dots along the edge of the flower petals.
There are two types of St. John's Wort, if yours doesn't have the black dots it's the wrong kind for these projects.

After pulling off all the petals and buds I put them in a jar filled with grape seed oil. Olive oil is wonderful to use but I don't care for the smell and grape seed oil is lighter.

I put it in a crock pot on low for at least 24 hours. In the bottom of the crock pot is a folded dish cloth the jar is setting on and water up to the top of the crock pot, like a double boiler.
After simmering, strain out the plant matter, I use double cheese cloth, sometime twice. If you want it thicken (like a salve) add a little melted bees wax after straining. Pour in a glass jar and use when needed. I keep mine until next year when I make a new batch.

Another pot full of blossoms and buds for my wool fabric.
I simmered the flowers in water for about an hour or so.

First I add a piece of alum mordanted wool and simmer it until it turns green. Next, I add a piece of unmordanted wool, simmer a long time until it turns a rosy tan brown. Add another piece in and it picks up the last of the dye in gold tones.
What a great plant, very medicinal and dye plant. It does it all!

When I was out picking the flowers, the sun was shinning through these horse tail plants making them glow lime green.

I did do a little bit of weaving on the Fourth of July, weaving several rows of bittersweet and a couple rows of indigo blue. My arms were so tired after "coaxing" the bittersweet through!  

I wanted to share with you these glass bottles,
my friend who taught herself how to make glass beads with a torch has now taught herself to make delicate glass bottles to hang on a necklace.
Beautiful, Windi.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My first natural dyed wool quilt.

The wool fabric I used in this quilt was natural dyed from1994-1997, when my girlfriend Deb Hardman and I first began learning/experimenting with natural dyes. In 1999 as my husband and I traveled the United States in our RV, I designed and hand appliqued different blocks from our wilderness adventures. When we came home I pieced the tree and star blocks and hand quilted it all. The boarders represent the four seasons of plants and critters living in our yard. The dyes have mellowed some in the last 20 years but it has been in continuous use in our cold months and I have machined washed it. I have been careful not leaving it in the sun. This quilt has so many wonderful memories sewed into it from gathering the plants, dyeing with them, our travels, family, friends and home. It's a treasure to me.

A section of the winter boarder,

with snowflakes and holly.

Spring with robins and a nest.

Part of the Autumn boarder.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weaving on the Earth Loom

I've added a few rows to the loom, the wool is easy but weaving with a growing bittersweet vine is a challenge. I don't want to break the tips so it keeps growing and does it keep growing! I have to check it daily to keep up.

Song of the Sky Loom

Oh our Mother the Earth,
oh our Father the Sky...
weave for us a garment of brightness:

May the warp be the
white light of morning,
May the weft be the red light of evening,
May the fringes be
the falling rain,
May the border be
the standing rainbow...

That we may walk fittingly where
birds sing...
where grass is green,

Oh our Mother the Earth,
oh our Father the sky!

Herbert Spinden

I love Native American poetry and this one seemed to go perfectly with todays post.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Full Strawberry Moon

Every Friday (if there are no interruptions) Spring though Fall I go to the Lake and quilt for a few hours. I invited my grandson who loves to fish to go with me. He fishes while I quilt.
What a special time we're having.

Last Friday was the Full Strawberry Moon.
I appliqued and quilted a moon block which will be added to my moon journal quilt.

This strawberry moon had a fish and pole memory stitched on it.

All the moon/sun blocks in my journal, all with Full moon memories, with more coming. Someday I'll stitch it all together. Just pinned to the wall now.

"So we are connected to the moon. That gives us power, a connection to the Earth and the moon, men don't know about."
Cecilia Mitchell

The Elders tell us that the women has access to special powers. The Earth Mother give her love in a Special way to the Woman. She uses these power to nurture, heal and guide the people.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Michigan woodlands in June

I packed a picnic and up North my husband and I went for the day. The woodland flowers are so delicate and in full bloom.


Lupine with butterfly weed, I love Mother Nature's color mix, purple and orange!

The fungi/mushrooms are new and still soft.

We arrived to the river and a mother turtle had just finished laying eggs. I don't know how she climbed up this hill. The sad part is the raccoons will be here at night digging up and eating all the eggs.

After our lunch a relaxing time watching the river go by and quilting.

Cute little magical island filled with ferns.

At home the roses are in full bloom. I planted 3 climbing plants on our front porch last year. This year their really taking off.

I always wanted a "rose covered cottage".

From my rosa rugussa plants (they have a wonderful strong rose smell) I pick the blossoms everyday, some I am drying to make into cream and others I'm keeping fresh to distill into rose water.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Greeting the Sun

"To be able to greet the Sun with the sounds from all of nature is a great blessing, and it helps us to remember Who it the real provider of all our benefits."   Thomas Yellowtail, Crow

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo